The passion of a Geotechnical Engineer

Many Geotechnical Engineers probably have not even thought about it too much, but what is that motivates many of us to practice Geotechnical Engineering? Is it the money? I don’t think so. If you compare the salaries of different engineering disciplines we are not even in the middle. If you compare with other non engineering disciplines we are so far down the list! We are under Wedding Photographers if you can believe that. Here is an article from regarding this issue.

So what is motivating us?
I came across two very interesting articles, the first in Geo-Strata September/October 2012 issue and the second in Ground Engineering Vol 46, No 1, January 2013. The first was the “Thoughts form the President” by Phil King in which he describes how he felt when he visited Terzaghi’s gravesite and reminisced his career as a Geotechnical Engineer. The second article was about John Burland “Towering Achievements” which describes how Prof. Burland became a Geotechnical Engineer and his career path.

Both describe with great passion their careers as Geotechnical Engineers and what more geotechnical engineering is for them.

What we do in the end is more about our passion for Geotechnical Engineering and less (much less) for material gain, salary or recognition. Our work usually is not even visible, but can you build a great structure without solid foundations?

About Chrys Steiakakis

Chrys Steiakakis is a practicing geotechnical engineer with more than fifteen years of experience in the field of geotechnical engineering. He earned his bachelor and master in mining engineering from the Technical University of Crete, Greece and a second master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA. He has been the technical director of engineering department of General Consulting ISTRIA for four years and now he is a partner and also provides his own consultancy services via Geosysta ltd. He has been involved in numerous highway, railway and mining projects. Chrys with his long term collaboration with the Technical University of Crete has participated in numerous research projects in the field of geotechnical engineering and rock mechanics and has provided self sustained seminars of geotechnical engineering in related areas for the Industry. His main field of experience covers all aspects of tunnel design, earthworks design and monitoring (slope stability, embankment in difficult ground, reinforced embankments and retaining walls), landslide investigation and mitigation, foundations for bridges and structures, risk assessment in geotechnical projects and value engineering in large projects.

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