Vice President North America - Professor Timothy Newson

Professor Timothy Newson

Professor Timothy Newson (Canada)

I am a member of the Canadian Geotechnical Society and now the Vice-President North America for the ISSMGE from 2017 to 2021. I am looking forward to serving my region in that capacity and I believe that over the last 30 years I have developed a wide experience of both the art and practice of geotechnical engineering that will allow me to perform this role effectively. I received my undergraduate degree in Civil and Structural Engineering (1988) and PhD in Geotechnical Engineering (1992) from the University of Wales, Cardiff, which is one of the premier civil engineering departments in the United Kingdom. I worked for a number of years in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong with Sir William Halcrow and Partners as a geotechnical engineer on a range of large civil projects, including the Second Severn Crossing Bridge, the M4 motorway, the Cardiff Bay Barrage and Chek Lap Kok airport.

Since then, I have worked in academia and I am currently a faculty member in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Research Director of the Geotechnical Research Centre of the University of Western Ontario. Over the period that I have been an academic, I have conducted research and taught geotechnical engineers at three universities around the world: the University of Western Australia (1994-1998), the University of Dundee (1998-2004) and the University of Western Ontario (2005-2016). As I have moved and worked around the world, my interests have become quite varied and I have made contributions in soft soil and clay engineering, offshore and energy geotechnics, buried structures and foundations, geotechnical physical modelling (1g & centrifuge), static and dynamic laboratory testing of soil and constitutive modelling of soils and structures, leading to more than 150 technical papers in peer reviewed international conferences and journals. I have also been lucky enough to contribute to geotechnical education and professional practice in these countries, and the 40+ graduate engineers and post-doctoral researchers I have supervised are now practicing as consulting/contracting engineers or teaching at universities around the globe. Much of my work has been strongly linked to industry, enabling me to conduct geotechnical consultancy and contract research for the offshore, civil engineering and mining industries.

During my travels, I have been a member of the British Geotechnical Association, the Australian Geomechanics Society, the Canadian Geotechnical Society (CGS) and the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. In each of these regions, I have been heavily involved in the running and support of the professional societies for geotechnical engineers. I was the Secretary of the Scottish Universities Geotechnical Network (1999-2003). I was also the Chair of the Soil Mechanics & Foundation Division of the Canadian Geotechnical Society (2005-2009) and I am the current chair of the Sustainable Geotechnical Engineering committee of the CGS. I have been a core member of two ISSMGE technical committees (TC38: Soil-structure Interaction from 2005-2010 and TC 307: Sustainability in Geotechnical Engineering since 2015). I have also been the technical chair for two large international conferences: the BGA International Conference on Foundations, Dundee (2003) and the ISSMGE Pan-American Conference on Geotechnical Engineering, Toronto (2011). All of these activities have enabled me to be directly involved in geotechnical education, knowledge creation and technology transfer to the profession. It is also enabled me to develop many life-long friendships with geotechnical engineers across the world.

During my term, I will strive to improve communications and cooperation between our three North American organizations (CGS, ASCE-GI and the Sociedad Mexicana de Ingeniería Geotécnica), will effectively represent them on the ISSMGE Executive Board and keep the three organizations informed as to relevant ISSMGE issues and activities. I welcome any comments about geotechnics in our region and I encourage you browse and explore the new ISSMGE site to get a feel for what it offers to our industry.