May 4, 2018

ASCE has announced its newest class of Distinguished Members. Distinguished Member status is reserved for the most eminent of civil engineers in the Society. A mere 229 of ASCE’s more than 150,000 current members can call themselves Distinguished Members. Each Distinguished member will be honored at ceremonies this October at the ASCE Convention in Denver.

Edward Kavazanjian, Jr., Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, Dist.M.ASCE, NAE, a Regents’ Professor and the Ira A. Fulton Professor of Geotechnical Engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University, has been honored by ASCE with inclusion in its 2018 class of Distinguished Members for his leadership in the geotechnical field and contributions to the design of waste containment systems and geotechnical earthquake engineering.

Dr. Kavazanjian returned to academia at ASU in August 2004 after 20 years in engineering practice. Dr. Kavazanjian is particularly well known for his work on analysis, design, and construction of landfills and waste containment systems, although his expertise and experience include a wide range of geotechnical engineering and civil infrastructure development projects.

He recently served on the National Research Council (NRC) study committee that authored the 2007 report on Assessment of the Performance of Engineered Barriers for Waste Containment (National Academies Press) and he was a state-of-the-art speaker on Geosynthetics Barriers for Environmental Protection at Landfills at the 8th International Conference on Geosynthetics in Yokohama in September 2006 and delivered a keynote address on Waste Mechanics: Recent Findings and Unanswered Questions at the GeoShanghai International Conference in June 2006.

He has also delivered invited state of the art papers at national and international conferences, symposiums, and workshops on seismic design of landfills, post-closure development of landfills, and design of landfill covers in arid and semi-arid environments. His practical experience includes analysis and design for liquid and gas containment for lined and unlined waste units and landfill closure and post-closure activities and he has served as engineer-in- responsible-charge for design for numerous municipal solid waste (MSW) and hazardous waste landfills.

In the western United States, his landfill experience includes the Lopez Canyon, Sunshine Canyon, Bradley, Bishop Canyon, Gaffey Street, Puente Hills, Calabasas, Azusa, Spadra, Lamb Canyon, Badlands, El Sobrante, Simi Valley, and proposed Eagle Mountain and Mesquite landfills in southern California, the Bena, Shafter Wasco, Arvin, Taft, Buttonwillow, and Lebec landfills in Kern County, the Vasco Road, Altamont, Tri Cities, and Redwood landfills in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Los Reales, Copper Mountain, Del Rio, and Grey Wolf landfills in Arizona.

As a consultant he also served as Principal Investigator on sponsored research projects from the National Science Foundation on Performance of Landfills in the Northridge Earthquake and on Mechanical Properties of Municipal Solid Waste and from the California Integrated Waste Management Board on Statewide Evaluation of Landfill Compliance and co-authored the US EPA guidance document on RCRA Subtitle D (258) Seismic Design Guidance for Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Facilities. Dr. Kavazanjian also has extensive experience with hazardous waste landfills and closure of Superfund and RCRA remedial action sites.


He was project manager for pre-design investigation and analysis and senior consultant for final closure design of the OII landfill Superfund site, engineer of record for closure of the McColl Superfund site, and principle-in-charge and senior technical reviewer for closure of the Del Amo and Thomas Ranch waste pits in southern California.


Dr. Kavazanjian is also recognized for his work on the behavior of soft clay and geotechnical earthquake engineering for highway. His research work on activities include work on the time dependent behavior of soft clay, the behavior of embankments on compressible foundations, and pore pressure generation during non-uniform cyclic loading of soils is widely cited in the literature. His consulting experience includes geotechnical investigation, analysis, and design for major infrastructure projects, including highways, tunnels, bridges, pipelines, port and harbor facilities, and landfills. He has served as geotechnical project manager or lead geotechnical engineer for design of foundations for cable-stayed bridges, marginal wharves, and rail maintenance facilities, for design and construction of sunken and driven tube tunnels in soil, for ground improvement using surcharges and prefabricated vertical drains, dynamic compaction, and stone columns, and for design of tie-back and reinforced earth retaining walls and solid and hazardous waste containment systems.

His project experience includes work on the proposed Westway Superhighway project on the west side of Manhattan and work for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on rehabilitation of piers along the Hudson River, the susceptibility of the tunnels under the Hudson River to differential settlement, and design of embankments and rail maintenance facilities. He has also worked in the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Newport News on marginal wharves and soft soil ground improvement projects. Dr. Kavazanjian is co-author of the US FHWA guidance document on Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering for Highways and the lead instructor for the National Highway Institute training course on geotechnical earthquake engineering.

From 2003 to 2005 he served on the NRC study committee on Geological and Geotechnical Engineering for the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Innovation. He is active in professional service activities on the local and national level, currently serving as Treasurer on the Board of Governors of the 10000+ - person Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and chairing the Geoseismic Issues subcommittee of the Committee on Seismic Design of Bridges for the Transportation Research Board. He is also a former chair of the ASCE Geo Institute Embankments, Dams and Slopes and Geotechnical Safety and Reliability Committees and is a past member of the Transportation Research Board Committee on Foundations for Bridges and Other Structures.

Read more here.