In this episode of The Geotechnical Engineering Podcast, I talk to Michael Wysockey, Ph.D., P.E., who is the president of Thatcher Foundations, Inc. Michael dives into some very interesting items including deep foundations, earth retention, marine construction, and safety considerations from a geotechnical specialty contractor’s perspective.
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Michael in This Episode:
- What do you do daily at Thatcher Foundations, Inc.?
- How did receiving the Wilson and Peck Fellowships benefit your geotechnical engineering career?
- You have many publications; can you tell us about your paper on the Accuracy of Methods Predicting Axial Capacity in Deep Foundations?
- As a geotechnical professional, where do you learn about things like building codes and union agreements?
- What kinds of techniques should young engineers be thinking about when they design something?
- How much do you get into the codes and regulations in designs?
- What have you learned from the marine projects that you have done?
- What excites you about geotechnical engineering today, and in the future?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Deep Foundations, Earth Retention, Marine Construction, and Safety Considerations:
- As the president of Thatcher Foundations, Inc., Michael helps with the daily tasks in many of the different fields, and particularly enjoys working with his design-build engineering team.
- He studied many load tests and measurements and when working on his paper; he realized that how well we can predict things that need to be understood, and geotechnical engineers need to pay close attention to significant figures.
- As a geotechnical engineer, you learn about things like building codes and union agreements, only once you have started your career, as they are not taught in school.
- A design technique that you need to think about using when designing something is to leave a lot of it up to a reliable contractor because the rules are changing all of the time. You need to talk to contractors to find out which materials are available locally and you need to be receptive to ideas that contractors bring to the table.
- Codes and regulations dictate things when it comes to deep foundations regarding loads and stresses that are inflicted on a structure.
- Sheet piling is mostly what Michael deals with because there is a wide variety available, which makes it economical to work with.
- Marine projects introduce a lot of new challenges when it comes to weather and tides. Water levels are constantly moving and this needs to be taken into consideration.
- Geotechnical engineering is exciting because it is such a dynamic field. There are many problems with many solution techniques, and many reasons why these techniques are useful in different places. The current level of instrumentation and the data that we learn from is increasing every day, and you need to keep ahead of this and not get left behind. Many of the techniques are constantly being developed and improved, which will make the future of geotechnical engineering a great place to learn and advance.
- The people who are attracted to geotechnical engineering are unique individuals, and working with them in the future will be exciting.
More Details in This Episode…
About Michael Wysockey, Ph.D., P.E.
Michael Wysockey, Ph.D., P.E., is the president of Thatcher Foundations, Inc. Thatcher Foundations is a specialty contractor working in design-build earth retention, pile driving, drilled foundations, and marine construction. Thatcher has built a reputation for innovative solutions to challenging deep foundation and shoring work.
Michael received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from The Citadel, his master’s from MIT, and Doctorate in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign — where he was awarded both the Wilson and Peck Fellowships. His publications range from shore erosion, to the effect of local soil conditions on earthquake motions, and to the capacity of deep foundations. He is the Chairman of the Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings, and a past Chairman of the Driven Pile Committee of the DFI and the ASCE Geo-Institute, Illinois Section.
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on deep foundations, earth retention, marine construction, and safety considerations.
To your success,
Jared M. Green, P.E., D.GE
Host of The Geotechnical Engineering Podcast