Two webinars were held in December with two of the IGS chapters – IGS UK on December 1st (recording linked here: https://www.igs-uk.org/events/past-events/) and the IGSNA chapter on December 16th. Two comments on these – the first, my disclaimer that I include in each of these: I do not claim to be any more or less ethical than anyone else, I simply have “done the reading” of reviewing companies and trade group publications and websites for standards, both on ethics and on sustainability. One of the themes of the lecture is that ethics are usually a grey area and responsible, honest and ethical people often disagree on what should be done in a certain situation. Secondly, I think that we, as a human race, have not advanced philosophy and ethnics to the degree we should. We make major advances and changes in science, technology and the digital world, but we spend a vastly smaller amount of time and energy addressing and improving our priorities and standards. So this is my little contribution to fixing that…
On November 23 (with a rebroadcast on November 30th) Boyd led a panel discussion on the “other” facets of geomembrane durability besides OIT. The webinar was sponsored by the IGS Technical Committee on Barrier Systems (https://www.geosyntheticssociety.org/committees/technical-barrier-systems/) and I was joined by Graham Fairhead of Fabtech and Catrin Tarnowski of Solmax. We discussed a broad range of topics including resin selection, masterbatch and stabilizer delivery systems, manufacturing quality and machine type/conditions, MQA/MQC inspection and testing and others. There is a great deal to consider when selecting a geomembrane for critical applications, and like any complex engineering task is is much more than just one property, event, test or action. Organization, long term record keeping and inspection and general good technical and business practices remain important.
Your’s truly has committed to several virtual speaking engagements in the coming months. I will again present an updated version of the “Ethics in Geosynthetics” talk, once for the IGS https://www.igs-uk.org/ UK chapter (December 1) and in December for the IGS https://www.igs-na.org/ North America Chapter. I will be a lecturer at the Huesker GeoForum event, November 10 and 11th that is being organized by the Brazil and North American organizations – the topic there is a sustainability overview, Geosynthetic materials make a great contribution to sustainability, but the operation of our manufacturing industry and engagement with future recycling of both raw materials and finished goods could use some improvement.
Also, I will be hosting a mini-lecture and panel discussion at an event sponsored by the ISG Technical https://www.geosyntheticssociety.org/committees/technical-barrier-systems/ Committee on Barrier Systems. The topic is the durability of geomembranes, but the perspective is uncommon. Our industry spends lots of time, money and attention on OIT (Oxidative Induction Time) results, an important factor, however there are several other equally critical factors that we tend to ignore almost completely in industry discussion.
On July 20, 2021 I presented a webinar titled: Geosynthetics and Sustainability – How is our industry doing?
This webinar/presentation gives an overview of the activities of our industry and some organizations, with interviews and discussions with industry participants including: Jean-Louis Vangeluwe – Solmax, Dennis Grech – Geofabrics, Sam Allen – TRI Environmental, Richard Bathurst – Royal Military College of Canada, Steve Thaxton – Owens Corning and John Krause – Executive Director IGS. Our industries products make great contributions to the cause of sustainable development and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (https://sdgs.un.org/goals) , but we can improve on our manufacturing operations and our communication of the engineering benefits of geosynthetics. Some best practices were highlighted and improvement needs discussed. As a result of this event and the increasing importance of sustainability contributions, I have enacted am Environmental and Sustainability policy – it can be found here https://www.boydramseyconsulting.com/environmental-and-sustainability-policy-statement/.
In a joint webinar, co-sponsored by the IGS Australian chapter (ACIGS) and the IGS Technical Committee on Barrier Systems, I presented and discussed the topic of Geo-barriers, specifically durability and estimations of durability performance using Oxidative Induction Time (OIT), both standard and high-pressure. Other panelists were Fred Gassner, Kerry Rowe, Warren Hornsey and Eric Blond.
OIT and retention of OIT are heavily used in our industry to estimate durability and lifespan and are part of the Victoria, Australia BPEM regulatory standards. However, the interpretation of the OIT and aged OIT retention test results is both formulation and testing protocol specific and should be undertaken with care and experience.
At the request and with the support of the IGS Australian chapter (ACIGS) on January 28th, 2020 I presented a webinar, “Ethics in Geosynthetics” – similar content to the events and presentations I have made in South Africa and the USA, but updated for our exciting times! A link to the ACIGS page is here: https://www.acigs.org/portfolio-items/boyd-ramsey-ethics-in-geosynthetics-january-2021/. The presentation summarized and presented highlights of the ethics policies of several organizations and companies within the geosynthetics industry as well as engaging with the audience on the complexity and “observer bias” of ethical dilemmas.
In addition to my client work and other industry responsibilities, I also serve as the Secretary / Treasurer of the International Geosynthetics Society Foundation. The IGS Foundation was created in late 2019 and is a non-profit, charitable organization. The mission of the Foundation is to support and expand the activities and reach of the IGS, particularly in the areas of education and market growth. I will serve on the Board of Trustees of the Foundation until December, 2021, having been selected by the IGS Council.
The Foundation welcomes the participation and support of all, within, or outside the general geosynthetics industry. Geosynthetics make a strong contribution to a better planet and the Foundation is an important part of expanding that market and our industries’ sustainable message. A brief video with several of our Founding Donors, myself and the Board’s Chairman – Jacques Cote explains the Foundation and highlights our kickoff at GeoAmericas 2020. The video is linked here, and can also be found on the IGS Foundation website at http://www.TheIGSFoundation.com
Please contact me if you have any questions. I hope that you will “Join us”.
In the first of what I expect to be many digital events, I presented at the Australian Land and Groundwater Association 2020 EcoForum in September 2020. The ALGA website is here https://landandgroundwater.com/ and I offer my compliments as they did a good job with the changes to a digital event. My presentation focused on the use of geomembrane materials for capping of contaminated sites, particularly sites with PFAS contamination. The presentations were pre-recorded with a session group Q and A presented at scheduled times. As I am certain that more and more events will move to digital content, I think this was a great start, both for myself, ALGA and the participants.
In June, 2020 a customer/client satisfaction survey was conducted among the 60 plus clients and prospective clients of Boyd Ramsey Consulting LLC. Participation was good at over 30% and the response was overwhelmingly positive. The services provided were characterized as “reliable”, “high quality” and always meeting time commitments. I particularly value the comments and good ratings from repeat customers, who see the value of long-standing relationships. I will keep continuous improvement as an important part of my programs. I thank the participants and my clients for their feedback and support.
In March, I made a visit to the USA for client visits and to attend two events – the Mirafi University event by TenCate and the Charleston SC geosynthetics conference. The Mirafi event was very interesting and helped to validate all of the transportation lobbying that I have done. The highlight of the Charleston events were a lecture on “Ethics in Geosynthetics” sponsored by the IGS North America chapter and a GMA lecture illustrating the progress of GMA since it’s inception. The Australia trip started with a series of Workshops in Melbourne and Brisbane on geomembrane barriers. The event was sponsored by the Austrialasian IGS chapter (webpage here: https://www.acigs.org/) and detailed the current state of practice and issues relating to use of geomembranes in an extremely difficult environment(s). The workshops were completed successfully, but unfortunately, the covid-19 crisis required an early departure from Australia. However, I will remain engaged with the Australian geosynthetics market – I suppose we will all be video conferencing for a while.
"The most powerful factors in the world are clear ideas in the minds of energetic men of good will."
– J. Arthur Thomson
“Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.”
– Aldous Huxley
“Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life.”
– Sandra Carey