Threadlines of Geotechnical and Engineering Geology firms in the Greater Los Angeles Metro-Southern California Area

НазваниеThreadlines of Geotechnical and Engineering Geology firms in the Greater Los Angeles Metro-Southern California Area
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Geothermal Surveys, Inc. (1961-present) dba GSi/water

Begun by Occidental College Geology & Geophysics Professor Joe Birman, PhD, PG, CEG, RGP, CHG where he taught between 1950-84. A hydrogeologist (AB Brown ’48; MS Caltech ’50; PhD UCLA ‘57), he started Geotherrmal Surveys in South Pasadena in 1961, after spending the previous four years performing the first thermal survey of a ground water basin. In the early 1960s Birman pioneered the use of water temperature profiling to track seepage and percolation conduits in Lake Isabella along the lower Kern River. Birman wrote landmark chapters in Handbook of Groundwater Development, such as “Geologic Formations as Aquifers” and “Exploration for Groundwater.” Another classic, but brief article, was “Thermal Exploration for Ground Water and Related problems,” in Geology, Seismicity, and Environmental Impact (AEG, 1973). Joe Birman worked across much of the United States, and in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. Tom H. Hibner, CEG (BS Geol ’89 CSPU-Pomona) was their senior geologist throughout the 1990s, and Eric Gorman (CSLA 2001) has served as their senior geologist in the 2000s.

Dames & Moore (in Caltech threadline)

Dames and Moore (1938-present)

The history of Dames & Moore parallels the development of a new discipline in engineering, the science of soils and foundation engineering. Before the birth of Dames & Moore, little was known of soil mechanics and foundation engineering, and what was known rested in the minds of the company's pioneering founders, Trent R. Dames (1911-2000; BSCE ’33; MS ’34 Caltech; RCE 5381) and William W. Moore (1912-2002; BSCE ’33; MS ’34 Caltech). Dames was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1911 and at age seven moved with his family to southern California, where he attended San Diego High School and developed an abiding interest in civil engineering. Moore was a native Californian, born in Pasadena three months after his future, Brooklyn-born business partner. Dames and Moore met for the first time at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where each earned their Bachelor of Science degrees in 1933 and Master’s degrees in 1934. Both Dames and Moore had developed an affinity for a particular aspect of civil engineering--the study of soil mechanics and foundation engineering--but their chosen academic paths led to uncharted territory. Much like the pair would be forced to do in the business world, Dames and Moore had to break new ground just to get started.

Their main obstacle--and it was a formidable one--was that Caltech did not offer any courses in soils and foundation engineering. Few engineering schools included such courses in their curriculum, but Dames and Moore were undaunted and, along with several of their classmates, they lobbied Caltech officials to include soil mechanics as part of the university's post-graduate engineering studies. Dames and Moore prevailed, but without any textbooks on the subject in existence, the first students of the course had to search for available research on soil mechanics and pool their discoveries. Pursuing their academic studies in this manner, Dames and Moore were scientific pioneers early in their careers. When they left Caltech in 1934 with master's degrees in civil engineering, each possessed expertise in a field few others had ever heard of. As they had done at Caltech, Dames and Moore would share their knowledge in the business world; the resultant joint effort materialized as Dames & Moore.

It took several years before Dames and Moore realized that their best chance to put their academic training to work in the business world was to form their own company. After leaving Caltech, Moore worked as a staff member of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey organization, while Dames joined the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as a junior engineer. The two were friends, however, and remained in contact with each other, eventually working together for R. V. Labarre and Fred Converse between 1936-38, two of the West Coast's first soil mechanics consultants. Because of the infancy of their shared specialty, Dames & Moore found little opportunity to use their skills in the existing marketplace; the obstacle that had confronted them at Caltech assumed a similar form outside the confines of academia. Consequently, in August 1938 they decided to form a partnership, but Moore kept his job with the Corps of Engineers LA District office, working on weekends and during the evenings, while Dames worked out of his home in Pasadena. When their book of business was sufficient to keep Moore busy full-time, he quit his job with the Corps. Dames’ principal role would always be in growing the business, while Moore’s was more focused on the firm’s technical capabilities. Though cautiously optimistic when they began, a dependable business clientele did not emerge until, like Lebarre, the two budding entrepreneurs began developing their own technical innovations, which could be marketed through articles.

When the patented Dames & Moore Type U underwater sampler was created, the two Caltech graduates could begin to imagine a future filled with steady business. Prior to the development of the Type U, soil exploration was conducted either by drilling a large hole or a number of small holes. The large-diameter borings were big enough to permit an individual to descend into the opening and record findings gleaned from the exposed strata, while the much smaller drillings offered loose or disturbed samples. Neither method was satisfactory: the former was impractical; the latter was inaccurate, creating a great need for an efficient, reliable method of determining soil dynamics. Dames & Moore had developed such a method. The Type U drove the sampler ahead of the boring, enabling engineers to obtain undisturbed samples taken from below the water table, which only rarely had been achieved. As a result, the partnership could point to its first advantage over the paltry few competitors it faced, the realization of which instilled a consistent commitment to technical research in the decades ahead. For rest of story, see separate document titled “Dames & Moore: Corporate History” (2005).

Their first branch office was established in San Francisco in 1941, with Bill Moore moving to San Francisco a short while later. This office was joined a short while later by a third office in Seattle, doing war-related infrastructure work. By 1950 Dames & Moore had offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and New York.

Dames & Moore - Los Angeles office – senior personnel

The first generation of partners, as of 1950, included: Trent Dames, Bill Moore, William W. Brewer, L. LeRoy Crandall, Vernon A. “Al” Smoots, and William Enkeboll. Bill Brewer joined the San Francisco office during World War II and LeRoy Crandall the Los Angeles office in 1945. They became the first junior partners with Dames and Moore in November 1947. Al Smoots received his BSCE degree from the University of Kansas in 1944 and served as a Seabee officer before joining the LA office in 1946. He went onto manage their New York office, but moved back to the firm’s Los Angeles headquarters in 1954 as Managing Consultant, when LeRoy Crandall departed (Smoots remained with D&M until 1985). Smoots authored several textbooks on soils and foundation engineering. Bill Moore and Bill Enkeboll transferred to the San Francisco office in the mid-1950s.

By the mid 1960s the LA office included partners Trent Dames, Al Smoots, Don V. Roberts, and G. A. “Andy” Reti. Hank Klehn (BSCE ’59, MS ‘60 Berkeley), Bill Gates (BSCE ’61, MS ‘63 Berkeley), all of whom came to the firm from Berkeley in the early 1960s. They were joined by Wolfgang H. Roth, GE (PhD ’64 Graz Austria), who came to UCLA as a postdoctoral researcher with UCLA Prof. Ken Lee. Gates and Roth became VP’s, while Klehn became managing partner of the LA office in the mid 70s. Klehn was named Exec VP and Chief Operating Officer of the firm in the late 80s, taking over role of VP for Corporate Development and joining D&M’s managerial board in 1993. Caltech grad George D. Leal GE, NAE (BSCE '56 Santa Clara; MBA ’57 Chicago; MSCE ‘58 Caltech) joined the firm in 1959 and served as CEO from 1981-94, Chairman of the Board (COB) from 1981-98, and was elected to NAE in 1995. It was Leal who took the firm into the lucrative geoenvironmental market in the 1980s.

D&M engineering geologists included John F. Stickel, David Bramwell, Roy Eastman, Richard Richards, and Arthur C. “Art” Darrow, CEG (BA Geol ‘63, MA ’68 UCSB), who joined the firm after serving as a Marine Corps officer in Vietnam. He became a partner, then President and Chief Operating Officer in Aug 1993, CEO in Jan 1995, and COB in 1998, succeeding George Leal. Geological engineer Gary E. Melikian (BSGE ‘62 CSM), worked out of the LA office between 1962-80 (he moved to D&M’s Technical Services Branch in Washington DC). J. Russell Mount was a geotech engineer who employed computer codes in modeling dewatering systems in the late 1960s, and Robert M. Moline was a senior geotechnical engineer who worked on earth dams..

In 1960 D&M was the first geotechnical firm to hire an “engineering seismologist.” In fact, this was the first time the term was ever used. David J. Leeds, CEG, RGp (1917-2011) (BA Geol ’39 Texas; PhD Geophy ’66 UCLA) had originally worked for the US Coast & Geodetic Survey, from an office at UCLA. At D&M he pioneered the assessment of techniques to measure the shear wave velocity of soils, then compute theoretical site amplification spectra. The first such project was for the proposed San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant in 1962. D&M led the charge in this arena until other forms began emulating their efforts after the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake. Jeff Keaton, PE, CEG (BS Geol ’71 Arizona; MSCE ’72 UCLA) was a senior geologist from 1971-79. After Paul Baumann PE retired from the LACo FCD in 1959, he was retained by Dames & Moore as a consultant on the retrofit of Puddingstone Dam, Little Santa Anita Canyon Dam, and Eaton Canyon Dam.

LeRoy Crandall & Associates (1954-1984); Law-Crandall (1991-2002); MACTEC (2002-2011); AMEC (2011 to present)

Lionell LeRoy Crandall, GE (1917-2011) grew up in San Diego and went by the nick name “Buzz.” After attending San Diego State for two years, he transferred to U.C. Berkeley and received his BSCE in 1941. He took a position with Dames & Moore in December 1941, after working for the State Division of Highways in San Diego for 6 months. He did not serve in the military during WW2, because he was performing critical engineering work for the war effort in southern California (he was registered as RCE 6157 in 1944). Crandall became the first junior partner with Dames & Moore in 1947 and was named the Los Angeles office’s Chief Engineer in 1952.

When Trent Dames shared his vision for going global with the firm’s business in 1954, Crandall decided to found LeRoy Crandall & Associates, which only focused on traditional geotechnical work in southern California, mainly in Los Angeles. Structural engineer Clarence Derrick loaned the start up funds to Crandall to begin his firm. In the early years his biggest client was MWD, but also many others, incl. Dept of Defense and Port of Los Angeles-Long Beach, etc., etc.

Some of the principals at Crandall & Associates included: Jimmy Kirkgaard (BSCE and MS, UCLA) was the chief engineer who ran all the office engineering operations for many years. Founding associates were Fred Barnes, Leo Hirschfeldt, and Russ Weber. Leopold (Leo) Hirschfeldt (1921-1980) attended Stockholm Technical Institute, receiving his BSCE in 1940. In 1948, he came to the United States and worked for Dames & Moore in Los Angeles between 1949-54. Hirschfeldt served as Secretary-Treasurer of Crandall until his death in 1980 and he was one of the founding principals of ASFE in 1969.

Fred Barnes (BSCE ’38 Berkeley) ran their field services division, and Jim McWee was chief inspector. Some of the junior partners included Jimmy Kirkgaard, Seymour Chiu (from Taiwan), Jim van Beverin, Bob Chieruzzi, Perry Maljian, and Carl Bock (went onto International Testing in Costa Mesa), and Marshall Lew, GE (BSCE, MS, PhD ’75 UCLA), who joined the firm in 1977 and became the last associate in 1981. Frank Fong, GE worked for the firm between 1986-94. Glenn A. Brown, CEG worked with Crandall from 1975-93. Glenn’s engineering geology firm had four people when they merged with Crandall in January 1975. Brown retired in April 1993 and is long time member on Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors.

Crandall & Associates was originally based out of office at 1619 Beverly Blvd., along what was then known as “structural engineer’s row.” Around 1970 they moved a short distance away, to a building they purchased on Alvarado Street in Los Angeles. Crandall was named as one the original members of the newly formed California Seismic Safety Commission in 1975.

After the acquisition by Law Engineering in 1982 the firm had grown to 75 employees and needed more space. All of the properties along Alvarado were held by the earlier partners in the firm, so they moved to the Glendale location (900 Grand Central Ave.). When Law purchased the firm LeRoy Crandall retired (he was 65), but remained active on the board. The firm didn’t change its name to Law-Crandall until 1991, when they moved down to The Citadel on the I-5 Golden State Freeway, near Garfield Avenue, on the border of the City of Commerce. In 1999, Crandall severed all ties to his old firm and formed Crandall Consultants, Inc. specializing in geotechnical forensic engineering services. MACTEC took over Law/Crandall about 2002. In 2007 they moved to a location on Slauson Ave in Los Angeles.

LeRoy Crandall participated in the EERI Oral History Series and a volume profiling his career prepared by Stanley Scott was published by EERI in 2008. Crandall was a long-time member of the Los Angeles Grading Appeals Board for the Dept of Building & Safety; other members included Fred Converse, L.T. Evans, and Tom Clements.

Glenn A. Brown – Consulting Engineering Geologist (CEG 3)

Glenn Brown received his BS in geology from UCLA in 1951. From 1951-63 he worked for the California Dept of Water Resources on the California Water Project across the Tehachapi Range into Castaic Reservoir, also co-authored DWR Bulletin 15. In 1963 he took a position with Geotechnical Consultants in Glendale, then started his own consultancy in 1967, based in Tujunga. Don McCann and Mervin E. Johnson worked for him in the late 1960s. His firm was absorbed into Crandall & Associates in 1975 and he remained with them until retiring in 1993. Glenn served as president of AEG and on the management board of the Metropolitan Water District for 26 years.

Leighton threadline (in Caltech threadline)

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