Serving professionals in engineering, environmental, and groundwater geology
since 1957

***Tuesday, March 10th***
Download March Newsletter

***Joint Meeting with

Topic: "The Comforts of Ignorance and the Benefits of Arrogance - Lessons of the Failure Kind for the Geopractitioner"

Speaker: Edmund Medley,
Ph.D., P.E., C.E.G., F.ASCE, Senior Consultant, Geosyntec Consultants

Location: Steven's Steak House
5332 Stevens Place, Commerce, California

Time: 6:00 p.m.-Social Hour; 7:00 p.m.-Dinner, 7:45 p.m.-Announcements/Presentation

Cost: $30 per person with reservations, $35 without reservations,
$15 with a valid Student ID.

Reservations: Please e-mail Jon Relyea at
or call 800-554-3205

Ignorance and arrogance are all too common in the design professions. It is comforting to not know what one does not know. And, there are benefits to being arrogant: why waste time on having a colleague check your work if you know what you are doing? Why go through the pain of further education or professional development? Why should engineering geologists talk to geotechnical engineers (and vice versa)? After all: I know enough geowhatever to get by. But ignorance leads to blissful mistakes and arrogance results in occasional spectacular, famous and expensive failures. In this lecture a few lessons are offered, particularly to the engineering geologist/geotechnical engineer/environmental scientist who thinks he/she knows it all.
Edmund Medley, Ph.D., P.E., C.E.G., F.ASCE is the 2009 Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecturer in Engineering Geology. The selection committee for this award is composed of representatives of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG) and the Engineering Geology Division of the Geological Society of America (GSA). The award was established in 1988 to commemorate Professor Jahns (1915-1983), who had an influential and diverse career in academia, consulting and government.

Dr. Medley is a Senior Consultant in the Oakland, California office of Geosyntec Consultants, an international consultancy renown for innovative solutions to geoengineering and environmental problems. Dr Medley started work in the Applied Earth Sciences in 1969, and now has over 30 years of unusually varied international experience in geotechnical and geological engineering consulting, mineral exploration prospecting, failure investigation, project management, litigation testifying, academic research, teaching, and lecturing. He has an international reputation for his pioneering research into the engineering and geological characterization of bimrocks (block-in-matrix rocks), complex geological mixtures of rock and soil such as melanges, fault rocks, weathered rocks, tills, and colluvium.

Dr. Medley also has experience evaluating geotechnical/geological engineering vulnerabilities and the causes of civil engineering failures, and has provided testimony for attorneys, insurance companies, contractors, and municipal clients. Projects include investigation of major landslides, rockfall hazards, expansive/collapsing soils, tunnel failures, coastal erosion, sinkholes and other ground movements in California, Nevada, District of Columbia; Hawaii, Guam, and Papua New Guinea. He is licensed as an engineer and geologist in the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom.

In 1978, graduating from the Univ. British Columbia, Dr. Medley was the first awardee of the Aro A. Aho Memorial Medal for Academic Excellence in Geological Engineering. He was the AEG Marliave Scholar in 1993, awarded for outstanding scholarship in Engineering Geology and Geological Engineering.