• DFI India
  • DFI Trust

Morgan’s Mentors Podcast

In this series (primarily intended for young professionals and undergraduate students), Morgan NeSmith will be discussing with various professionals about mentoring and being mentored. Each episode will follow a standard format with the purpose of providing general advice on career development and being mentored from a range of perspectives.

Morgan NeSmith is a director of engineering at Berkel & Company Contractors, Inc., and has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech and over 20 years of experience in geotechnical contracting and consulting. NeSmith has authored and co-authored numerous papers on deep foundations and ground improvement systems. He also regularly speaks to companies, universities, and professional organizations on these topics on behalf of Berkel as well as DFI, of which he is the immediate past chair of the ACIP and DD Pile Committee. NeSmith currently serves on the DFI Board of Trustees as the liaison to the ACIP and DD Pile Committee and is a Diplomate of the Academy of Geo-Professionals.

Morgan NeSmith, Host

Episode 10: Wayne Clough, Ph.D., P.E.

Wishes are granted on this episode of Morgan’s Mentors as Morgan hosts the first guest requested by a previous guest! Wayne Clough, Ph.D., P.E., secretary emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution and president emeritus of the Georgia Institute of Technology, joined us to talk about navigating the worlds of research and administration along with the importance of finding mentorship throughout our careers.

Clough has earned numerous awards and honors during his career. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1990 and was awarded its Arthur M. Beuche Medal in 2008 for national service in public policy. He has received nine awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), including two Norman Medals, the oldest award of ASCE, and the OPAL Award for lifetime achievement. He received Georgia Tech’s Joseph M. Petit Award for Distinguished Service in 2009 and was named to the Technology Hall of Fame of Georgia in the same year. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010 and received the Medal of the Foreign Policy Association in 2011. He was awarded the Ralph Coates Roe Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 2013. In 2014, he received the President’s Medal of Emory University and the Silver Order of the de Fleury Medal of the Army Corps of Engineers for his service in the rebuilding of the hurricane protection system in New Orleans. In 2016 he received the Engineering Excellence and Leadership Award from George Mason University.

Episode 9: Lori Simpson, P.E., G.E.

We’ve interviewed well known engineers, we’ve talked with highly regarded industry leaders, and Morgan has talked to people he’s enjoyed working with. Now we get to move the needle with all three types of guests encompassed in one guest. Lori Simpson, P.E., G.E., an award-winning consultant and long-time leader at both Langan Engineering and DFI, joined us to talk about mentor/mentee relationship contributions and obligations along with how large, unexpected changes can be navigated and ultimately rewarding.

Episode 8: Martin Larisch, Ph.D.

It’s time to move the needle all the way across the Pacific! Martin Larisch, Ph.D., of Larisch Consulting in New Zealand, has written some of Morgan’s favorite papers on deep foundations and was generous enough to spend some time talking about his journey from Germany to Australia and New Zealand, the influential people he had the opportunity to work with along the way, and why mentorship is as important for engineers in mid-career as it is for people just starting out.

Episode 7: Sina Javankhoshdel, Ph.D.

We’re baaack. And we’re moving the needle farther than ever. For the first episode of 2023, Sina Javankhoshdel, Ph.D., P.E., of Rocscience, talked with us about his path from civil engineering research to software development and a couple of the people that were instrumental on his journey. We also talked about the human judgment necessary for using software tools in engineering analysis as well as what engineers should be prepared for with coming AI technology (hint: it’s already here and it’s here to stay).

Episode 6: Ed Garbin

For the final time in 2022, it is, once again, time to move the needle. Dr Ed Garbin has been a designer, a contractor, a manager, and best of all for us, he is now the founder and principal engineer of Garbin Geostructural Group. Dr. Ed joined us to talk about his path to starting his own business, including the highs and lows, the worries, and also the numerous rewards that come with getting out and doing your own thing.

Sponsored by Dan Brown and Associates

Episode 5: Hannah Iezzoni

If you still don’t know what time it is, it is once again time to move the needle. Along with being a 2022 DFI President’s Award winner, new chair of the DFI Augered Cast-in-Place and Drilled Displacement Pile Committee, and technical program co-chair for the 2022 DFI Annual Conference in National Harbor, Hannah Iezzoni is passionate about mentorship and advocacy and joins us this week to dig deep into these topics. We talk about the roles and responsibilities of both mentors and young professionals in their relationship along with the importance of staying open to opportunities that present themselves during one’s career.

Sponsored by Dan Brown and Associates

Episode 4: Vanessa Bateman

If you still don’t know what time it is….it’s time to move the needle. In this episode, Vanessa Bateman brings over 25 years of service with the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Army Corp of Engineers to discuss what young engineers will find rewarding when working with a state or federal agency, what strengths are keys for a successful leader in this area and the characteristics that are a predictor of success or longevity for geotechnical engineering and construction.

Sponsored by Dan Brown and Associates

Episode 3: Helen Robinson

Once again, it’s almost time to move the needle. In this episode, we take a deep dive into being active within the industry’s various organizations, and what the demands and rewards can be. And we couldn’t have a better guest than Helen Robinson of GEI Consultants, former executive editor of Deep Foundations magazine, the inaugural chair of the DFI Women in Deep Foundations Committee, and a member of the DFI Educational Trust Board and the Board of Governors of the ASCE Geo-Institute. Helen shares her experience with industry service including how to get started and how to get the most out of your activity.

Sponsored by Dan Brown and Associates

Episode 2: Dr. David Frost

It almost time, once again, to Move the Needle! Dr. David Frost is a professor of Geosystems Engineering who has been recognized by Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering for his student mentorship. In this episode, he and Morgan talk about David’s mentors, the characteristics he likes to see in the students he gets to work with and the rewards of being a mentor to so many students and young professionals over the years.

Sponsored by Dan Brown and Associates and ConeTec

Episode 1: Liz Smith

It’s time to Move the Needle! THE Liz Smith joins Morgan to talk about her journey through the geotechnical consulting field and drop some knowledge for young engineers on what to look for early in their careers and what characteristics/habits will set them up for success in the industry.

Sponsored by Dan Brown and Associates