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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Woodward-Clyde & Associates (1963-1997); URS-Greiner (1997-present)

Firm started in January 1950 in Oakland, CA by Ned P. Clyde (1920-1999), Arnold Olitt (1913-1993), and Richard J. Woodward, Jr. (1907–1998), all whom met one another as students at Cal Berkeley. Leonard M. Krazynski (BSCE Wash State, MS ’60 Berkeley) began his career at Woodward-Clyde in 1959, in Oakland. He became their Chief Engineer and Supervising Engineer of their office in Orange County in late 1963-early 1964 (this office was originally in Orange, but subsequently moved to Santa Ana, where it remained for many years). When they opened the Orange County office the firm went by the name Woodward-Clyde-Sherard & Associates. By 1968 that had reverted to Woodward-Clyde & Associates.

Stanley F. Gizienski, PE (BS ’43 Massachusetts, MSCE ’48 Harvard) managed the firm’s San Diego office and after Krazynski’s departure, became the firm’s resident expert on expansive soils. Gizienski had worked for the Corps of Engineers in Omaha for about 10 years before joining the firm in 1955, and had been one of the co-authors of the 1963 text Earth & Earth-Rock Dams, by J.L. Sherard, R.J. Woodward, S.F. Gizeenski, and W.A. Clevenger. Gizenski was succeeded by Douglas C. Moorhouse as manager of the San Diego office

The original group that opened the Orange County office included engineers Louis J. Lee, R. Leonard Allen, and Steve Haley, and engineering geologist Charles J. “Jerry” Pinckney. The southern CA office did a lot of pioneering work with expansive soils, including a two-year contract with the Portland Cement Association’s Los Angeles District, summarized in a 134 page report delivered in March 1968. This report led to the adoption of the UBC 29-2 Soil Expansion Potential Test.

As the workload increased in San Diego in the early 1960s, Louis J. Lee, PE (BSCE, ’52 MS ’58 MIT), Ray Eastman, CEG (from Dames & Moore), Jerry Pinckney, CEG, and Jeff Wiegand (MA Geol ’69 SDSU) all transferred to the San Diego office (Wiegand wrote the first article hypothesizing the existence of a San Diego Bay-Tijuana fault controlling San Diego Bay, AEG Bulletin Fall 1970). Len Kraznyski moved onto San Diego as well, before leaving the firm and retiring to Houston, where he ran a small consulting firm. He was succeeded by Nicholas Chryssafopoulos (1919-95) (BSCE ’40 Robert College in Istanbul, MS ’53, PhD ’56, Illinois), who had joined the firm in 1959 and had previously managed their Montclair, NJ office. Chryssafopoulos left to become a consulting partner with Dames & Moore in their New York office, then re-joined Woodward-Clyde in 1972, managing operations for the entire Los Angeles metro area. At that time the senior geologist was Daryl Streiff, CEG.


Woodward-McNeil & Associates (1971-75)

Robert L. McNeill PhD, PE grew up in Bakersfield, received BSCE from Berkeley in ‘54 (after attending West Point). He began working for Woodward Clyde in Oakland in 1953 as a soil technician, while completing his degree at Berkeley, and he worked part-time after graduation, while pursuing his master’s thesis research, evaluating the use of pier-and-grade beam foundations to mitigate damages from expansive soils in the San Ramon Valley (completed in 1957). In the early 1960s he completed his Ph.D. at the Univ. New Mexico (‘65) while supervising Woodward Clyde’s Special Projects Division (working with the Air Force), out of the Oakland office. In the early 1970s the Los Angeles and Orange offices were operated as Woodward-McNeil & Associates and located at 2140 W. Olympic Blvd in downtown Los Angeles, with a branch office in Orange, CA. McNeil left on Dec 31, 1975 to start his own consultancy.

During the late 1960s-early 1970s John T. Gaffey (BSCE, MS, PhD from Purdue) became their marketing manager, Bill Uhl was their engineering geologist (later to LA Co). Other key figures included geological engineer Hans W. Ewoldsen (BSCE ’62, PhD GeoE ’66 Berkeley), Richard J. Bielefield, Lewis J. Oriard, John A. Barneich, R. Leonard Allen, and Steve Haley. Bob Muns ran the field operations, and Ist Van Kalman ran the soils lab. The LA office did a lot of consulting for LADWP in the wake of the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake and used Lloyd Cluff, Claraence Allen, and Harry Seed as peer reviewing consultants on ground motions (e.g. Chatsworth Reservoir studies). Dr. Izzat M. Idriss (PhD ’66 Berkeley) transferred to Orange County from the firm’s Oakland office (previous to that he had worked at Dames & Moore in SFO) in late 1975, after Bob McNeil departed. Idriss became the Santa Ana office principal and remained there until leaving to teach at U.C. Davis in 1989, the same year that he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Other principals included Yoshiharu Moriwaki, GE (PhD ’75 Berkeley) and Jean Sutter Hill (BSCE ’78 Purdue; MS ’80 Berkeley).

Woodward Clyde Consultants was purchased in 1997 by the URSGreiner combine for $100 million.


Group Delta Consultants (1986-present)

Founded by Walt Crampton, PE, Barry Bevier, PE, and Bob Dolwlen, CEG all from Woodward-Clyde. They were employed in the San Diego office of Medal-Worswick until 1986, when Medal-Worswick was purchased by Schaffer Dixon Assoc. Less than a year later, this group reformed as Group Delta. The original guys are retired, and the firm became a MBE under Kul Bhushan and Shah Ghanbari, after Crampton and Bevier left. Group Delta Consultants, Inc. provides geotechnical engineering, geology, hydrogeology, earthquake engineering, materials testing & inspection, and forensic services out of offices in San Diego, Irvine, Torrance, Ontario, Victorville, and El Centro. The firm has a staff of 125+ highly skilled professionals consisting of civil and geotechnical engineers, engineering geologists, laboratory and field technicians, deputy inspectors, drafting/CADD, and drilling and support personnel specialized in their respective fields.

The principal partners include: Michael D. Reader, GE in the CEO, Shah Ghanbari, PE is the President, Chief Technical Officer is Kul Bhushan, PhD, GE, and the Principal Geotech Eng’r is Thomas D. Swantko, GE. In May 2011 Group Delta acquired Praad Geotechnical. Daniel Pradel, PhD, GE became a principal engineer of Group Delta’s Forensic and Modeling Group, in Torrance (see his profile below). Pradel has served as Adjunct Associate Professor in geotechnical engineering at UCLA since January 1997. Other staff from Praad include senior engineers Kristan Chang, and Peter Chiu in Torrance and Rodney Masuda in Irvine. Meghan Lithgow is staff engineer in San Diego.


GeoPentec (1998- )

Run by Tom Freeman, CEG, John Barnisch, PE, GE, and John Waggoner, CEG (Gene Waggoner’s nephew) began new firm in Santa Ana shortly after WCC breakup. They do lots of work for MWD.


UCLA threadlines


The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) was founded in 1919 as the "Southern Branch" of the University of California, the second oldest of the ten U.C. campuses. In 1927, the U.C. Regents renamed the school the "University of California at Los Angeles" and land for a new campus was purchased in Westwood. In 1929 the original campus became Los Angeles Junior College (renamed LA City College in 1947) when the Westwood campus opened, with 5,500 students. In 1933 UCLA began awarding master’s degrees, and in 1936, began awarding doctorate degrees.

Today UCLA is organized into five undergraduate colleges, seven professional schools, and five professional Health Science schools. These programs offer over 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a broad range of disciplines, and enrolls approximately 26,000 undergraduate and 11,000 graduate students.


UCLA Geology Program


Professor W. J. “Will” Miller (1924-48)

William John Miller (1880-1965) was born in Red Bluff and always went by the name “Will.” He attended the University of the Pacific studying geology, graduating in 1900. He went on to earn his PhD in geology from Johns Hopkins in 1905, and began teaching at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY until 1914. He then moved to Smith College in Northampton, MA, where he taught until 1924. That summer he transferred to the new Southern Branch of the University of California, which had been established in downtown Los Angeles in 1918. In 1924 the enrollment was less than 1500 (they moved to the Westwood campus in 1929). The geology department inaugurated graduate study in geology under Miller’s leadership. He soon become Professor of the Geology Department, serving as Chairman from 1924-37, and retiring in 1948. A prolific writer, between 1916-52 he published six editions of the classic collegiate text, An Introduction to Historical Geology, and between 1924-49, he published five editions of An Introduction to Physical Geology.

Miller did a great deal of pioneering work examining and documenting the geology exposed in a number of southern California locales, including: Red Rock Canyon, Deep Springs Valley (where he took his students to field camp), the western San Gabriel Mountains, the southern Peninsular Ranges, the 29 Palms area, Barstow, the Needles-Goff area, and the strip between Palm Springs and Blyth, which figured prominently in the selection of the route for MWD’s Colorado River Aqueduct, a few years later. He was the earliest worker to recognize the significance of the Elsinore fault zone in shaping the geomorphology of southern California, and the first worker to recognize and name the Jacumba Volcanics, exposed near Jacumba, Devil’s Canyon, and the In-ko-Pah Gorge near the eastern escarpment of the Southern California Batholyth (in the mid 1930s).

In 1931 Miller, Ralph Arnold, and M.H. Bissel completed an in-depth study of the Point Fermin Landslide for the Los Angeles City Engineer, as a more detailed follow-up to the study completed in early 1929 by Caltech Prof. Leslie Ransome (see W.J. Miller, 1931, The Landslide at Point Firmin, California, The Scientific Monthly, v 32:5). This study showed the role of structure, stratigraphy, and geomorpohogy on triggering the slide. Miller also consulted on a number of economic geology projects, including clay sources for and making brick (a major enterprise prior to the 1933 Long Beach earthquake). Miller also consulted on a few projects in the Palos Verdes Peninsula (diatomite quarries and bentonite seams), landslides along Pacific Palisades, and flood control projects in the western San Gabriel Mountains, the latter subject of which he was considered the most authoritative expert of his era. He was also the first geologist to recognize evidence of spotty alpine glaciations in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains (in 1926). He was also the first geologist to map the geology between Palm Springs and Blyth, which figured prominently in the decision to take the central route for the MWD Colorado River Aqueduct in 1935.


Professor U.S. Grant IV
at UCLA (1931-59)

Ulysses S. Grant IV (1893-1977) grew up in San Diego, the youngest child of San Diego attorney and real estate entrepreneur Ulysses S.”Buck” Grant, Jr. (1852-1929), the second son of American President Ulysses S. Grant (1822-85). He always felt he should have been named U.S. Grant, III, but that honor went to his cousin (1881-1968), the son of his uncle, Major General Frederick Grant (West Point Class of 1871). His cousin U.S. Grant III attended West Point (Class of 1903) and had a distinguished career with the US Army Corps of Engineers, which included District Engineer in San Francisco and chair on the California Debris Commission (1921-26). U.S. Grant III rose to the rank of Major General, in command of the nation’s civil defenses during World War II.

U.S. Grant IV left the west coast in 1911 to study geology at Harvard, his father’s alma mater, graduating cum laude in 1915. Following graduation he sought his fortune mining gold in Mexico. During the First World War he abandoned this enterprise to enlist in the Army, working his way through the enlisted ranks to a lieutenant’s commission by the war’s end. From 1919 to 1925 he worked in the New York Stock Exchange. In 1926, he returned to school, taking graduate courses at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1927 he entered the graduate program in paleontology at Stanford University, where he received his PhD in 1929.

Grant next took a position with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, as curator of invertebrate paleontology. He began teaching paleontology at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1931. He rose from instructor to chairman of the geology department between 1937-45, and he retired in 1959, remaining in Los Angeles. Grant wrote many papers on Pliocene and Pleistocene mollusks in the southern California borderland, and often collaborated with Leo George Hertlein, his old classmate at Stanford. He was also did extensive work examining the oil potential of late Quaternary units in southwestern San Diego County.

His most notable engineering geologic contributions were on the Wilmington subsidence problems in the 1940s and 50s, caused by the withdrawal of oil and water. This settlement reached a rate of more than 2 feet per year by 1951 (U.S. Grant and W.E. Sheppard, 1939, Some recent changes in elevation in the Los Angeles basin of southern California, and their possible significance, BSSA v. 29:299-326; and U.S. Grant, 1954, Subsidence of the Wilmington Oil Field, California: CDMG Bull 170 Ch 10, p 19-24).

Prof. Grant was a member of AEG and one of the first geologists to become an approved engineering geologist by the Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety in 1961. He also served as a consultant to the State Division of Dam Safety on a dam site in Malibu, which was never built. After the Baldwin Hills Reservoir failure, he was also retained as one of the consultants in the litigation that ensued, against the oil companies. He died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California from lung failure caused by leukemia in 1977.

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