Meet the 2018 Terzaghi Lecturer: Rudy Bonaparte

Professor of the Practice Rudy Bonaparte, who will deliver the 2018 Terzaghi Lecture at the ASCE Geo-Institute annual meeting. (Photo Courtesy: Geosyntec Consultants)

The American Society of Civil Engineers Geo-institute has invited Rudy Bonaparte to deliver the nation’s premier geotechnical presentation for 2018, the Karl Terzaghi Lecture.

Presented at the Geo-Institute’s annual conference, the lecture features a distinguished engineer each year who has made remarkable contributions to the field.

“The lineage of ASCE Terzaghi Lecturers includes some of the most distinguished academicians and practitioners in the history of the geotechnical engineering profession,” said Bonaparte, who is a professor of the practice in the School of Civil and Environmental and chairman of the board of Geosyntec Consultants. “I feel very fortunate — and humbled — to be included with this group of individuals.”

Bonaparte was president and CEO of Geosyntec for two decades before joining the School in 2016 and transitioning to chairman of the company’s board. He also won an Outstanding Projects and Leaders Lifetime Achievement Award for Design from ASCE the same year.

Bonaparte said the invitation caught him by surprise.

“I did not know that I had been nominated, and I can think of others in the profession, including my Georgia Tech colleagues, who I feel are very deserving of the recognition.”

Bonaparte is the fourth faculty member from the School invited to deliver the Terzaghi Lecture. Carlos Santamarina gave the lecture in 2014, G. Wayne Clough in 1994, and George Sowers in 1979.

He said he’s planning to focus his lecture on the thousands of facilities around the country storing solid waste, industrial by-products, and other wastes.

“The geotechnical failure rate for these facilities is higher than we would hope for,” he said. “I intend to discuss the reasons behind the higher failure rate and how we might reduce it through improvements in engineering design, construction and operations.”