Soil Testing Companies Background on soil testing companies



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Harding Associates was established in 1957 (see Harding Lawson threadline, below)
Brewer & Associates (1958-68)

Founded by William W. Brewer, PE managing partner of Dames & Moore’s San Francisco office. He moved onto Cooper-Clark as their Vice President in 1968.


Carlos G. Abrille - Soil Mechanics-Foundation Engineering (1960-2012)

Carlos G. Abrille, PE (1923-2012) was born in Tarlac Province of the Philippines Commonwealth and raised in Manila, where he was educated. In 1950 he moved to the San Francisco Bay area to take a position with Dames & Moore, and became registered as a civil engineer in 1956. He worked for D&M for 10 years before founding his own consultancy in 1960, named Carlos G. Abrille - Soil Mechanics-Foundation Engineering, located on Stearns Avenue in Oakland.
Robert S. Cooper & Associates (1957-63); Cooper-Clark Consulting Engineers (1963-68); Cooper-Clark & Associates (1968-88)

Founded by Robert S. “Bob” Cooper, PE from Dames & Moore in Palo Alto in the late 1950s (they continued using that name throughout the 1960s, with the same street address as Cooper-Clark). Donald E. Clark, PE joined Cooper as a partner and Vice President in 1963, or thereabouts. Both men had previously worked for Dames & Moore out of their SFO office. They were joined by former D&M partner Bill Brewer in 1968.

Some of the earliest employees included geologist Peter Vardy CEG and engineer Richard E. Frager. They started out in SFO, but moved their main office to Palo Alto, with branch offices in San Francisco and Novato. Sometime later, they moved again, to Redwood City, where they remained until the company was dissolved. VP’s included Boris S. Kalinovsky, PE, William W. Brewer, PE, and Norman Gurin in the late 1960s, and engineers Tom Tejima, Richard L. Terrell, and Martin Owen. Engineering geologists included Sterling Atkinson, PE, CEG, John T. O’Rourke, CEG, CHG (MS EngGeol ’80 Stanford, founded Hydro-Geo Consultants in 1987), Gary B. Taggart, John M. Pilling, Michael J. Dwyer, and Donald W. Maltzeh. In the 1970s some of the senior staff included Peter Vardy, CEG, Jim Baker, CEG, and Steve Kramer, PE (BSCE ’77; MS ’79; PhD ’85 Berkeley; now Prof at Univ Washington), and several others.

Although very strong in 1970s, the firm was dissolved around 1988 and succeeded by the Bay Area Geotechnical Group, co-founded by Don Clark (profiled below).


Bay Area Geotechnical Group (1988 – present)

The Bay Area Geotechnical Group (BAGG) was founded by Donald E. Clark of Cooper-Clark and Ebbi Hamidieh in February 1988 in Palo Alto, across the street from Cooper Testing Labs before moving to Sunnyvale. Hamidieh purchased increasing share of the firm from Clark and has served as the firm’s President for more than 20 years. The Chief Engineer/Co-Owner is Jason Van Zwol, GE (BSCE ’77; MS ’80 SJSU), who previously worked for PSC (1977-83) and Cooper-Clark (1983-88). Bruce E. Gaviglio, GE (BSCE ’67 SJSU), and Ajay C. Singh, PE (MSCE ’87 Berkeley; previously worked for Golder Associates) are listed as senior engineers. The firm has provided geotechnical input for more than 4,000 projects in the SF Bay Area and are a member firm of ASFE.


Noble Harbor Engineering (1958-69); Noble Coastal and Harbor Engineering Ltd. (1981-85); Noble Consultants, Inc. (1985-2013); GEC, Inc. (2013-present)

H. Morgan Noble, PE (1920-2005) graduated from Stanford in June 1942 with a degree in general engineering. After graduation he attended the naval architecture and ocean engineering graduate program run by MIT for engineering officers at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. He was then assigned to Naval Base San Francisco, where he worked on various harbor engineering projects, with the rank of Lieutenant (O-3). In 1946 he was named the first Harbor Engineer with the Orange County Harbor District, and become a registered civil engineer in July 1949.

In 1958 he started Noble Harbor Engineering, based in Newport Beach. In 1965 he moved to Belvedere in Marin County, where he remained the rest of his life. From 1969-81 he served as a partner with Dames & Moore, out of their San Francisco office. In 1981 he and his son Scott formed Noble Coastal and Harbor Engineering Limited.

After Morgan Noble retired in 1985, the firm became Noble Consultants, Inc., with offices in Newport Beach and Tiburon. The firm is run by two of Noble’s sons, Ronald M. Noble, PE (MSCE ’69 Berkeley) and Scott M. Noble (BA ’73 UCSB; MS Ocean Eng ’76 Oregon State). Ron Noble worked for Dames & Moore’s Los Angeles office from 1977-82, and managed the Newport Beach, and later, Irvine office. Scott Noble managed the office in Tiburon, and later, Novato. In October 2013 the firm was acquired by G.E.C., Inc of Louisiana, a leading provider of engineering, planning, and environmental services.
D.F. Javete, Inc. (1985-unkn)

Donald F. Javete, PhD, GE (BSCE ’54, MS ’56; PhD ‘83 Berkeley) was born in San Francisco in 1929 and attended St. Mary’s High School (Class of ’47), where he served as an officer in the JROTC unit. He attended the University of Santa Clara, receving his Bachelors in Engineering (BSE) in 1951. He took a position with Dames & Moore in San Francisco and continued his education at Cal Berkeley, receiving his BSCE degree in 1954. He then completed his master’s in soil mechanics, also while working for D&M, with his research emphasis on nuclear methods of determining soil compaction with Professor Robert Horonjeff. He received his MS and passed the PE exam in 1956. In 1965 he became one of the youngest D&M partners in the SFO office. In the late 1970s he began working on his doctorate with Mike Duncan at Berkeley, and took a six-moth leave of absences to complete his dissertation in 1983 (A Simple Probabilistic Approach to differential settlements of clay). After retiring from D&M around 1985, he started his own firm, based out of Oakland. One of the projects he worked on involved the ongoing litigation over differential settlement of northern Bay Farm Island, northeast of the Oakland Airport. Some of the unique aspects of this effort are summarized in J. M. Duncan, D.F. Javete, and T.D. Stark’s 1991 article titled “The Importance of a Desiccated Crust on Clay Fill Settlements,” in Soils and Foundations v. 31:3, p. 77-90.
Berlogar, Long & Associates (1973-83); Berlogar Geotechnical Consultants (1984-2011); Berlogar Stevens & Associates (2011-present)

Berlogar, Long & Associates was founded in 1973 by Frank Berlogar, III, GE, Leonard O. Long, PE, and Henry L. Minch, CEG in 1973 in Palo Alto/Menlo Park. The firm later moved to Fremont, and then to Pleasanton, where they have remained since 1983. Frank Berlogar received his BSCE from Berkeley in 1967, and worked on the Redwood Shores project for Dames & Moore (1967-69), for W. A. Wahler & Associates (1969-71), and managed Geolabs Bay Area office from 1971-73, before founding BLA in 1973. Leonard O. Long (1917-2010) was born in Alameda and received his bachelor’s degree in forestry at Berkeley in 1940, living in the same fraternity as Ben C. Gerwick. Both served as naval officers in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, Long returned to Berkeley to take courses in civil engineering, and took a position with Abbot A. Hanks, Inc., Engineers, Assayers, Metallurgists, Chemists, Soils and Foundations, and Construction Testing, based at 1142 Howard Street in San Francisco. Len came to supervise the firm’s soils and foundations work and became a PE in 1962. He then served as Vice President of Geo-Engineering with Oliver Gilbert, next door to Abbot A. Hanks on Howard Street (1964-68). Around 1968-72 Len managed the Bay Area office of Lowry and Associates in Alameda, and started his own firm in San Francisco, shortly before going into the partnership with Frank Berlogar in 1973.

Berlogar-Long’s first Chief Geologist was Henry L. Minch, CEG (1928-2008), who received his bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Washington in 1952. He had previously worked on embankment dams in Washington and British Columbia. He was a junior partner, remaining with the firm till 1987, when he retired. Some of the early employees included W. Darwin Myers, CEG, Charles F. Crittenden, George O. Reid, CEG, Michael N. Clark, CEG, Richard T. Gomm, GE, and Lawrence Pavlak, CEG.

In 1981 Leonard Long retired and in 1984 the firm moved to Pleasanton and became Berlogar Geotechnical Consultants (BGC). This placed them closer to the new housing tracts being constructed in the East Bay Hills and Amador Valley. In the 1980s-90s some of their senior staff included: Mark Milani, Frank Groffie, CEG (BA Geol ’82 Berkeley), Kenneth A. Bedde (BSCE ’76 Berkeley), Paul Lai, GE, and Philip C. Tse, GE were senior geotech engineers. Ray Skinner, CEG was their chief geologist for many years (before moving to ENGEO). Ted Bayham, GE, CEG served as a senior engineer in the 1990s (before moving to ENGEO). Bill Stevens, GE and Steve Tsang, GE were the senior geotechnical engineers until 2013. Stevens has been a member of the Alameda County Zone VII Water Board since 1998. In 1992 Peng K. Leong, PE (BSCE ’81 Toronto; MS ’82 Berkeley) left Levine-Fricke (1988-92), eventually becoming one of the firm’s principal engineers. Kevin Ryan, CEG (BS Geol 1998 CSUHumboldt) was the firm’s engineering geologist from 1999-2009.

In 2011 William R. “Bill” Stevens, GE (BSCE Virginia; MSGeoE Arizona) became a partner, and the firm’s name changed to Berlogar, Stevens & Associates. Prior to this Stevens had served as one of Berlogar’s principal geotechnical engineers, and prior to that, with Consolidated Engineering Labs in Pleasanton. He also served as a Director on the Alameda County Zone VII Water Board for 16 years.
Darwin Myers Associates (1979-2005)

Founded by W. Darwin Myers, PhD, CEG (BA Geol ’63 Case Western; PhD ’69 Wisconsin), based in Concord, and then, for many years, in Martinez. Myers worked for Berlogar-Long Associates before serving as Contra Costa County’s first County Geologist, from 1975-79. He was succeeded by Jim Baker (1979-81) and Todd Nelson (1982-90), before resuming the role of reviewing County Geologist on contract with the Planning & Community Development Department, beginning in the mid-1990s.


Alpha Consultants (1984-90); DuPont Environmental

Alpha Consultants was founded by Lenard D. Long, PE (BSCE ’76 CSU Chico) and George O. Reid, CEG (BS Geol ‘72, MS ’75 SJSU) in 1984 and based in Pleasanton. They met while working for Berlogar and formed a team that worked mostly on geoenvironmental work, selling their holdings to DuPont Environmental around 1990.



George Reid then founded Amador Engineering & Infrastructure in 1997, also based in Pleasanton. A year and a half later, he started up GRA Associates (in 1998), which engaged in environmental and expert witness work, also based in Pleasanton. In 2005 he then started Pacific Terra Resources in Pleasanton.

Lenard D. Long, GE went onto found ACI Construction Engineering in May 1988, based in Pleasanton, specializing in geoenvironmental remediation work. In April 1991 he formed Sunriver Engineering & Construction, based in Brentwood. In 1998 he affiliated with ERM-West, a geoenvironmental firm that opened a branch office in Walnut Creek in the mid-1990s. In 2007 Long opened a Brentwood office for SCS Engineers, environmental consultants and contractors (est. 1970), who have 47 offices in 23 states, doing environmental remediation work. In 2011 Long was listed as a Vice President of Stearns, Conrad and Schmidt, Consulting Engineers, Inc. (SCS).
Howard F. Donley & Associates (1975-78); Howard-Donley Associates (1978-1984)

Howard F. Donley, PE (1937- ) (BSCE ’60 Wyoming; MS ’61 Montana) had worked for Dames & Moore from 1963-72, when he opened a Bay Area office for Fugro (profiled below), which only lasted a few years. In 1975 he established Howard F. Donley & Associates in Redwood City. Among their earliest consultations was the Seismic Safety Element for the City of Burlingame in 1975.

In 1978 Donley joined with Terry R. Howard, CEG (1939-2005) to form Howard-Donley Associates. Terry Howard (PhD GeoE ’73 Berkeley) had received his graduate training in geological engineering at Cal Berkeley and was a Professor of Geological Engineering at the University of Idaho. Their new firm was also based in Redwood City. Some of their employees included Vince Pascucci, GE, Michael N. Clark, CEG, Mike Coco, Joel Baldwin, CEG (who came from Woodward Clyde in Santa Ana in 1979), and Roberta J. Rodrigues.


Baldwin-Wright, Inc. (1986 - 95)

Founded in March 1986 by Joel E. Baldwin, CEG (BS Geol ’75 CSULB; MS Geol ’81 CSULA) of Howard-Donley Associates and his wife Roberta J. (Rodrigues) Wright (BA Geol ’75 SFSU), who had worked for GeoResource Consultants and Howard-Donley. They were registered as a WBE geotechnical firm and based in Pacifica, where they operated for about 10 years. Joel departed in 1990 to form his own firm (profiled below) and Roberta kept the firm running for about five years thereafter.


Earth Investigations, Inc (1990-2004): Earth Investigations Consultants (2004-present)

Around 1990, Joel Baldwin, CEG formed Earth Investigations as a separate engineering geology firm, based in Brisbane, then moved to Pacifica. They reformulated as Earth Investigations Consultants, Inc. in 2004, with their Chief Engineer being Thomas ‘Tom’ Stimac, GE (BSCE ’68 Berkeley), formerly of Harding Lawson. Stimac now owns his own consultancy, Stimac Associates.


Harlan Engineers (1972-80); R.C. Harlan & Associates (1980-84)

Richard C.Dick’ Harlan (1929-2008) received his BSCE from Stanford in 1952, attending on an NROTC scholarship. After serving two years in the Navy, he joined Dames & Moore in 1954, working at their offices in Los Angeles and New York. While working in New York he attended evening graduate courses in soil mechanics at Columbia from Professor Don Burmister. In 1958 he joined Bechtel Civil Services in San Francisco to work on Mammoth Pool Dam for Southern Cal Edison in the Sierras, and later, on the Churchill Falls Project in Quebec. He then returned to Bechtel’s home office in San Francisco, where he worked on the designs and construction of the Powell and Civic Center BART stations on upper Market Street, in the late 1960s.

In 1972 Harlan left Bechtel to form Harlan Engineers as an Earth Systems company, with offices in San Francisco and Concord. They perfiormed construction observation and testing work on subdivisions being graded in Contra Costa County and elsewhere. Harlan used Richard M. Lee as his senior soils tech. In the early 1970s Harlan also taught soil mechanics at San Jose State. Harlan left the Earth Systems family in 1975 and started R.C. Harlan & Associates, based out of San Francisco, while Harlan Engineers continued to be operated for about a year by Al Gribaldo and several of the Earth Systems partners. Harlan used Robert H. York, GE (1940-2005) as his senior geotechnical engineer and Chuck Trantham, CEG (BA Geol ’58 Colo State; MS work Oregon) came over from Bechtel in 1973 to serve as the firm’s engineering geologist on contract. R.C. Harlan pursued water resources work with various agencies in northern California.


Harlan-Miller-Tait (1984-89); Harlan-Tate Associates (1989-2006)

Harlan-Miller-Tait was established in San Francisco in 1984 by Dick Harlan, (BSCE ’52 Stanford; MS work Columbia), Gene Miller (BSCE ’51 Colorado A&M; MS ’56 Georgia Tech), Richard G. Tait (BSCE ’61; MS ‘62 Berkeley), and Robert H. Bob” Wright, CEG (BA Geol ’68 SJSU; PhD ’82 UCSC) as the general partners. Gene Miller and Dick Tait had previously worked for Harding-Miller-Lawson and Wright for Earth Science Associates. Gene Miller departed to start Miller-Pacific Engineering, in 1989. Dick Harlan retired around 1997. Some notable employees included geotechnical engineers Bob York, David T. Schrier, and geologists David R. Montgomery (BS Geol ’84 Stanford; PhD ‘91 Berkeley) and G. Reid Fisher, CEG (BA Geol ’80 Carlton; PhD ’87 UNR) from 1990-99, and several others. They appear to have opened branch office or moved to Mountain View in early 2000s, and ceased operating in 2006.


Telegraph Avenue Geotechnical Consultants (TAGA); TAGA software; Robert M. Pyke Consulting Geotechnical Engineer (1977-2008)

Founded by Australian native Robert M. “Bob” Pyke, GE (BSCE ’63 Univ Sydney; PhD ’73 Berkeley) in January 1977, after working for Dames & Moore (1973-76). From 1963-69 he worked for the Commonwealth Department of Public Works in Canberra, Australia, before beginning graduate work at Berkeley in 1969. TAGA was a small firm situated on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. They re-wrote FORTRAN format slope stability programs used by U.C. Berkeley’s geotechnical engineering program for use on personal computers of that era, and marketed consulting engineering services to most of the geotechnical firms in California during the 1980s.

Pyke was assisted for several years by Mohsen Beikae (MSCE ’77; PhD ‘81 Berkeley) and several other recent graduates from the Berkley geotechnical program (Beikae went onto to develop QUAD4M with I.M. Idriss and Martin B. Hudson at UC Davis in 1993-94 and 2003-04, while working for MWD in Los Angeles). Ian R. Brown (MS ’79, DEng ’81 Berkeley) and Peter Wood, geological engineering consultants based in Wellington, New Zealand assumed responsibility for further development of the TAGAsoft program library.

Pyke specialized in consultations relating to dynamic slope stability, which was a niche that expanded in the 1980s and 90s. He also worked on the myriad slope stability problems in the Blackhawk and Canyon Lakes GHADs in the late 1980s-early 1990s. Pyke also performed funded research for EPRI and did contract work as a forensic specialist for several decades. In 2008 he joined ARCADIS US Consultants in Walnut Creek as a VP, but he departed after two years. He has since been promoting alternative schemes for the proposed peripheral tunnel aqueduct around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.


Trans Pacific Geotechnical Consultants (1984-present)

Started by Eddy Lau, GE (MSCE ’65 Berkeley) in San Francisco around ~1984. Their senior engineer was William C. Wood, GE (BSCE ’61 Berkeley), who also came over from Dames & Moore, a few years later.



Tejima –Atkinson (1984-93); Tejima & Associates (1993-97)

Founded by Tom Tejima, GE (MSCE ’74 Berkeley) from Dames & Moore to Cooper-Clark, then joined with Sterling K. Atkinson, Jr., PE, CEG (1928-96), who had previously worked for Dames & Moore, the USGS, Leighton, and Cooper-Clark.


Clark GeoTechnical, Inc. (1981-present); Applied Geosystems (1985-91)

Founded by Michael N. Clark, CEG, CHG (BA Geol ’77; MS ’78 UCSB) in January 1981 after having worked for Howard-Donley and Berlogar-Long. The firm was based in Fremont and assisted other geotechnical firms. In 1985 he founded Applied Geosystems. He became a registered hydrogeologist in 1995.



Roger Foott Associates (1988-94)

Founded in 1988 by Roger Foott, GE (BSCE ’67 Univ Birmingham; D.Sc. ’73 MIT), principal at Dames & Moore, noted for developing SHANSEP (Stress History and Normalized Soil Engineering Parameters) approach for dealing with soft clays in the Atchafalaya Basin, while working with Prof. Chuck Ladd at MIT in the early 1970s. The article summarizing this work by Ladd and Foott in 1974 was recognized by ASCE’s 1976 Norman Medal. As principal at D&M, Foott supervised design work on settlement of enormous fills for Hong Kong Int’l Airport and Kansai Int’l Airport near Osaka. For this pioneering work he shared ASCE’s 1988 Middlebrooks Award with fellow D&M principals Demetrious Koutsoftas, and Leo Handfelt. Some of Foott’s senior staff included Frederick M. Brovold, GE, Frank S. Szerdy, GE (who went onto Geomatrix), Roy A. Bell, GE (from Dames & Moore), Elizabeth Bialek (BSCE ’89; MS ’91 Berkeley), and engineering geologist Eric J. McHuron, CEG (BA Paleo Berkeley; PhD Geol ‘76 Rice Univ), most of whom came from Dames & Moore. After Foott died of cancer in 1994 the firm was absorbed by GEI Consultants of Woburn, MA (see GEI Consultants profile below).


Ed Rinne (BSCE ’61, MS ’63 Berkeley) left D&M to become managing partner of Kleinfelder at their corporate headquarters in Walnut Creek in the late 1980s (see Klienfelder threadline).
Julio E. Valera GE, (BSCE ‘62, MS ’64 Notre Dame; PhD ’68 Berkeley) was from Astoria, NY. He went to Dames & Moore after receiving his doctorate from Berkeley in 1968, where he supervised the firm’s work in dynamic stability analyses of dams and harbor facilities. He left D&M around 1990 to open up Valera Geoconsultants in Mountain View, and later joined Knight Piesold Consultants in their Denver office. In late 2002 he started Valera Geoconsultants, based in Lakewood, Colorado.
Willem C. B. “Billy” Villet (BSCE Univ Pretoria; MCSE ’77, PhD ’81 Berkeley) was a native of South Africa, who came to UC Berkeley as a graduate student in the fall of 1976. He joined Dames and Moore in 1981 and rose quickly through the ranks to become a managing partner, even turning down an offer to replace Professor Mike Duncan at Berkeley when he departed for Virginia Tech in 1984. Villet joined Geosyntec Consultants in Walnut Creek ~2001. He is now President and CEO of MMI Engineering, based in Oakland, after they were purchased by Geosyntec Consultants in 2009. MMI also have offices in WA, TX, and the UK, and consult on projects all over the world (see Geosyntec write-up).
Storesund Consulting (2005-present)

Rune Storesund, DEng, GE (BSCE 2000; MS ’02; DEng ‘09 Berkeley) founded his own consultancy in 2005, based in Albany. Previous this he had worked for Berlogar Geotechnical (2000-01), Subsurface Consultants (2001-02), and Fugro West (2003-05). After completing his doctorate at Berkeley in 2009, he worked for Noble Consultants, but re-opened his consultancy in Kensington the following year. Most of his work has dealt with levees, landslides, shoreline retreat and erosion, channel and wetlands restoration, and forensic support. Since 2005 he has worked on research projects funded by the National Science Foundation, in Louisiana, the 2008 and 2011 floods of the Mississippi River, the Mississippi Delta, and on the California Bay Delta region, including the 2004 Upper Jones Tract levee failure. Dr. Storesund also currently serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Catstrophic Risk Management at U. C. Berkeley.
Demetrious C. Koutsoftas Geotechnical Consultants (2010-present)

Demetrious C. Koutsoftas, GE, NAE (BS AgEng ’68 Technion-Haifa; MS ’71 and CE ’72 MIT) departed D & M to join URS Consultants, then ARUP as a senior associate, when he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2006. He later retired and started his own consultancy, Demetrious Koutsoftas Geotechnical Consultants.
Lai & Associates Geotechnical Engineers (2009-present)

Founded by Pamela Y.C. Li, GE and Paul Sai-wing Lai, GE (BSCE ’83 Taiwan Univ; MS ’86 Berkeley) in July 2009 as a WBE firm, based in Pleasanton. Li had previously worked for Morrison Knudsen Corp. in San Francisco, while Lai had served as a principal geotechnical engineer at Berlogar Geotechnical Consultants, since 1994. In 2013 they were joined by Steve Tsang, GE (BSCE ’82 Illinois; MS ’83; MEng ’84 Berkley) as Vice President and Principal Engineer. Previous to this he had worked for GeoResources, Fugro, and Berlogar.


Harding-Lawson Threadline (in Dames & Moore thread)
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