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



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Some of the engineering geologists educated at U.C. Santa Barbra include the following: Art Darrow (’63), Seena Hoose (‘63), John Byer (’65), Gary Van Houten (’68), Mike Hoover (’71), David Hoexter (’72), William L. Bilodeau (’73), David W. Buckley (’75), Rick Hoffman (’76), Michael N. Clark (’77; MS ‘78), Frank Moreland (BA ’77), Mike Bonkowski (’78), Joe Hanna (’78), Dorian Elder (Mills) Kuper (’78), Mark Grivetti (’79), Mark Molinari (’80), David B. Simon (’80), Pat Boales (’81), Keith Kelson (’82), Murray Einarson (’82), Tom Rockwell (PhD ’83), Steve Campbell (’83), Daniel J. Peluso (’83); Ann McDonald (’83); Don Terres (’84), Greg Silver (’84); Perry Russell (’84), Dennis Laduzinsky (MS ’85), Bob Devany (‘85), Scott Moors (’87), Anna Buising (PhD ’88), Todd Tranby (’88), Chris Hitchcock (’90), Mike Jurasius (’91), John Kramer (’94), Lisa Bates (’94), Alex Greene (’94), Erik A. Hilde (’95), Brent McIntyre (’96), Brian J. Olson (’96), Robert Urban (’96), David Zell (’99), Damien Gonsman (’99), Danny Daugherty (2000), Ron Karpowicz (2001), Larry Gurrola (PhD 2002), Kathryn Farrington (2005), and Maygan Cline (2007).



Michael F. Hoover Consulting Geologist (1979-85); Hoover & Associates, Inc. (1985-99); HC Geotechnical (1988-90); Michael F. Hoover, Consulting Geologist/Hydrologist (1990-2015); Hoover Consulting (2015 -present)

Michael F. Hoover, CEG, CHG (BA ’71, MA ’74 UCSB) founded his own consulting practice in 1979 after working for Dames & Moore in Santa Barbara from 1974-78. His first sizable job was to prepare the Seismic Safety Element for the City of Santa Barbara in 1979 and the firm incorporated as Hoover & Associates in 1985. In 1990 he formed a separate partnership, known as HC Geotechnical, with Ken Clements, GE. In 1992 Clements sold his firm, K-C Geotechnical Engineers, to Fugro-McClelland West (described above). 

Hoover now operates his consulting business as Hoover Consulting, with offices in Santa Barbara and Eastsound, WA. In 1994 Mike Hoover purchased the Chicago Grade Landfill and Recycling Center in San Luis Obispo County and serves as its General Manager, and is a Certified Manager of Landfill Operations in California. Previous to his involvement, the landfill had been plagued by permitting issues which required considerable time working with a number of regulatory agencies.   


Derivitive fims of Hoover & Associates

A number of geologists worked for Mike Hoover before venturing out on their own. These include: D. F. “Rick” Hoffman, CEG, CHG, who operates Rick Hoffman & Associates in Santa Barbara, a geohydrologic consulting company; Mark Grivetti, CEG, CHG (BA ’79, MA ’82 UCSB), who went onto work for Dames & Moore for 15 years, before opening up Geosyntec’s Santa Barbara office in 2000.


CampbellGeo, Inc. (2000-present)

Steve Campbell, CEG, CHG received his BA in geology from UCSB in 1985 and took a position with Hoover and Associates in Santa Barbara. He worked on various geotechnical and hydrogeological investigations in the Santa Barbara County area. He became a Registered Geologist and then obtained his Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology certifications. Steve formed CampbellGeo, Inc. in 2000, serving the Santa Barbara County/central coast area.
Larry Gurrola Engineering Geologic & Environmental Services (2005-present)

Larry D. Gurrola, PhD, CEG grew up in Santa Paula and received his BA in geology from San Diego State in 1993, MA in 1996, and Ph.D. from UCSB in 2006, working with Prof. Ed Keller. He worked part-time for Hoover for several years.  Since 2005 he has been operating Larry Gurrola Geologic & Environmental Services in Ventura while teaching geology part-time at UCSB and LA Pierce College. He has prepared a number of notable publications and maps profiling the geology of the Santa Barbara coastline and Santa Ynez Mountains, including mapping some of the largest bedrock landslides. He has extensive expertise in neotectonics works, including fault activity trenching and age dating of the various marine terraces and paleosols in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.      
Firms in the San Diego area
Woodward-Clyde Consultants (1959-97); URS-Greiner (1997-2014); AECOM (2014-present)

Woodward-Clyde was founded in January 1950 in Oakland, CA by Ned P. Clyde (1920-1999), Arnold Olitt (1913-1993), and Richard J. Woodward, Jr. (1907–1998), whom met one another as students at Cal Berkeley toards the end of the Second War (see Northern California Threadline). Douglas C. Moorhouse was the first manager of the San Diego office in 1959, before moving to the firm’s Clifton, NJ office in 1962. Gerald L. Baker, PE (BSCE ’56; MS ’58 Berkeley) joined Woodward Clyde in 1957, and transferred to the San Diego office as their Chief Engineer in the early 1960s (in the late 60s he became VP for Administratin at the firm’s Clifton, NJ office; In 1972 he joined Len Krazynski in establishing Woodward-Krazynski & Associates in Houston). Baker was succeeded by Stanley F. Gizienski, PE (BS ’43 Massachusetts, MSCE ’48 Harvard), who managed the San Diego office for many years. 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. Gizienski, and W.A. Clevenger.

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 Len Kraznyski (BSCE ’58 Wash State; MS ’60 Berkeley) all transferred to the San Diego office. By 1972 they had 58 employees working out of the San Diego office. Other geologists working out of the San Diego office in the 1970s-80s included: George Brogan, CEG (MS Geol ’69 SDSU); Jeff Wiegand, CEG (MA Geol ’69 SDSU); Mike Rahilly (BS ’68 SDSU); Robert J. Dowlen, CEG (BS Geol ’69 SDSU), Daryl Streiff, CEG (BS Geol ’71 SDSU); and Don Olsen, CEG, CHG (BS Geol ’78 SDSU).

Len Kraznyski served as the firm’s resident expert on expansive soils, along with Louis Lee. Jeff Wiegand wrote the first article hypothesizing the existence of a San Diego Bay-Tijuana fault controlling San Diego Bay in the Fall 1970 issue of the AEG Bulletin. John Moossazadeh, PE (BSCE ’76; MS ’78 Maryland) served as a senior associate of the San Diego office from 1978-96, before joining Kleinfelder in 1999, and James D. Hartley, PE joined the San Diego office in 1982 after receiving his MSCE at Berkeley (he moved to CH2M Hill in Sacramento). In 1997 WCC was purchased by URS–Greiner, and in October 2014 URS was acquired by AECOM.
Southern California Soil & Testing (1959-2015); SCST, Inc. (2015-present)

Southern California Soil & Testing, Inc. (SCS&T) was founded in 1959 in San Diego. They provide consulting services in geotechnical engineering, materials testing, special inspection, and third party QA/QC services. The firm is headquartered in San Diego, with branch offices offices located in Los Angeles, Chicago and Milwaukee.  In November 2015 they re-formed as SCST, Inc. They have diversified their services to include work in both the public and private sectors offering geotechnical engineering, environmental science & engineering, special inspection & materials testing, and facilities consulting. For many years Howard Katz (BA Minnesota) was listed as the firm’s majority owner. In December 2013 Neil W. Clemments, PE (BS Physics ’72 USNA; MSCE 1979 Texas A&M) became Owner & CEO. The firm is a certified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE). From 1999-2014 Principal Geotechnical Engineer of the firm’s branch offices in Riverside and Indio was Garrett B. Fountain, GE. Roy N. Butz, PG was staff geologist.
Geocon (1971-present)

San Diego-based geotechnical consulting firm purchased in 1971 by Jim Likins, GE, who then served as the firm’s CEO until 1999. Mike Chapin, GE served as CEO from 2000-09; and Joe Vettel, GE has served as the firm’s CEO since 2010. Since its founding, the form has established branch offices in Los Angeles (Burbank), Temecula, Palm Desert, and Sacramento. Principals in the San Diego office include Joe Vettel, GE, John Hoobs, CEG, Dave Evans, CEG, Shawn Weedon, GE, Rod Mikesell, GE, Lisa Battiato, CEG, and Ben Eastman, PG.


Owen Geotechnical Consultants (1981-89); Owen Consultants (1988-91); Owen Geotechnical Group (1997-unkn)

Owen Geotechnical was founded by Martin R. Owen, GE (BSCE ’67 Univ Glasgow; MS ’68 Berkeley), a native of Scotland, after he had managed Leighton’s San Diego office from 1978-81. Previous to that, he had worked for Irvine Soils Engineering (1976-78), Lowney-Kaldveer (1971-76), and Cooper-Clark (1968-71). Owen Geotechnical did a lot of work for insurance companies. In 1989 he established Owen Consultants, with branch offices in Newport Beach and Sacramento.

In January 1991 Owen established himself as an independent consultant operating under the name Martin Owen, Building and Foundation Damage Specialist and Geotechnical Engineer. He sold Owen Consultants, which became Owen Geotechnical Group in 1997, with its headquarters in Newport Beach. The CEO of Owen Geotechnical Group was Michael Chegini, PE, SE. This firm was absorbed into The Owen Group, founded in 1991 as an architectural-civil engineering firm in Irvine (previously established as BFL Owen & Associates in 1981). Chehini serves as CEO of The Owens Group from its headquarters in Irvine.
Ninyo and Moore (1986-present)

Founded in 1986 by Avram Ninyo (BSCE ‘71 Robert College-Istanbul; MSCE ’74 Syracuse, working with Fred Kulhawy) and Roy E. Moore (MSCE ’72 SJSU), son of Dames & Moore founder Bill Moore. Ninyo managed Leighton’s north San Diego office and Ninyo & Moore were originally based in north San Diego County. Their corporate headquarters later shifted to San Diego, with branch offices in Irvine, Los Angeles, Rancho Cucamonga, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, and Sacramento. In the 2000s they expanded their holdings into Arizona (Prescott, Phoenix, and Tucson), Las Vegas, Nevada, Denver, Colorado, and Texas (El Paso and Houston). They provide geotechnical and geoenvironmental design and remediation work, materials testing, construction management, etc., and are an ENR Top 500 Design Firm.


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