The Association of Geohazard Professionals (AGHP) was created in 2013 to support the development of standards, specifications, and best practices concerning the design and implementation of geohazard-related technologies and products; and to support and provide education to the geohazard community and those it serves.

The Association aims to create a stable of resources that will support the purpose of the organization and the promotion of best practices in the geohazards field.  The Association leadership is formulating high-altitude goals based on the needs of both the geohazard community and the communities influenced by and benefiting from geohazard technologies.

Current goals and related deliverables include:

  • Standardization & Certification Resources
  • Test Method Development
  • Generic Specifications
  • Design Guidelines
  • Certification Programs for Companies
  • Certification Programs for Technicians
  • Resource Development
  • Webinars
  • Speakers Bureau
  • Online Presentations
  • Conference Papers
  • Other Publications
  • Outreach
  • Short Courses at Conferences
  • Workshops
  • Communication with Agencies and Academia
  • Graduate Program Speakers
  • Integration of Geohazard Information into Non-Geohazard-Specific Events

Because many of the Association’s goals are related to supplementing and promoting standardization, certification and specification of geohazard technologies and solutions, the initial focus of the association will be North American.

organizationchart_blueORGANIZATIONAL CHART
The structure of the Board of Directors is designed to:

  • Ensure that each type of member has a voice with regard to the direction of the Association
  • Engage as many relevant perspectives as possible
  • Facilitate efficient interaction with the Executive Director / Management Company

Officers, Member Representatives, Directing Members and Advisors make up the Association’s Board of Directors.

Officers are elected from the Directing and Corporate Membership and may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms in any one position. Corporate Member Representatives are elected from the Corporate Membership.

There are 6 Membership Categories in the AGHP:

  • Directing Members
  • Corporate Members
  • Agency Members
  • Individual Members
  • Student Members
  • Emeritus Members
Visit the Membership page for more information



Ghislain Brunet – President
Ghislain has been working in the field of erosion control and rock slope stabilization for more than 24 years. He is responsible for the technical and marketing activities in the North American markets for the rockfall business. He has implemented and organized the sales and the manufacturing of the rockfall mitigation products in the USA for Maccaferri. He has an MBA and a degree in engineering. He is a chairman on the ASTM International Committee for the Geohazard Protection Systems. He has been involved in developing ASTM standards for more than 15 years. He is one of the founding members of the AGHP.


Bob Forbes – Vice President
Bob has been involved in the geotechnical engineering field since 1996. His experience ranged from geotechnical drilling for foundation design to soil mechanics for site construction and landslide evaluations. This experience was put to use when he and two business partners started Ameritech Slope Constructors, Inc. Ameritech quickly transitioned from a company that was focused primarily on landslide repair to one that installs an array of geohazard protection systems for both soil slides and rockfall. Bob’s role as a founding member of the AGHP is to help the association develop into an important resource for the geohazard industry.


Bill Kane – Immediate Past President
Bill has been involved in rockfall barrier testing since testing some early low-energy barriers in 1992. He has seen the industry grow from ad-hoc fence designs to sophisticated engineering and construction for rockfall, debris flow, and pinned/tensioned systems for slope stabilization. He founded, and has been President of, KANE GeoTech, Inc., Stockton, California since 1997. He is one of the founding members of the AGHP.


Ahren Bichler – Secretary
Ahren Bichler is a Quaternary geologist with an MSc. in Earth and Ocean Sciences and has been working with geohazards since 2000 in North America and Europe. In 2006 he became the General Manager of Trumer Schutzbauten Canada Ltd. and has brought the Austrian’s rockfall, debris flow, avalanche and slope stabilization solutions to the Canadian market. With the founding of Trumer North America Inc. in 2012, he now oversees all aspects of Trumer’s interests in North America. Ahren is also the representative for the Swiss-based company Pfeifer Isofer in the United States.


Ben Arndt – Corporate Member Representative
Ben has 22 years of experience in the geotechnical engineering field, including 15 years working on transportation projects; 2 years of forensic engineering; and 5 years of underground mining experience. His areas of expertise include: evaluation, analysis and mitigation of: landslides, unstable rock slopes, and rockfall prone areas. He has over a dozen national publications for FHWA, TRB, and ASCE on topics that include: rockfall protection, polyurethane resins for rockslope stabilization, retaining wall systems, lightweight expanded polystyrene fills, and multiple types of landslide mitigation/foundation systems. He currently works for Yeh and Associates, Inc in Denver, Colorado.


Brian McNeal – Corporate Member Representative
Brian McNeal has been in the construction industry for the last 16 years. He began his career in the directional drilling industry before dedicating the last 12 years to slope stabilization and geohazards. He started in the industry as a high scaler, equipment operator and worked his way into project management and estimating. He spent those years with AIS Construction Company before starting Access Limited Construction. Brian continues today as co-owner and Vice-President of Access Limited Construction based out of San Luis Obispo, California, where he is responsible for the selection of bids and estimating. When a project is awarded, Brian is involved in the planning, scheduling, managing and budgeting of projects.


Skip Watts – Individual Member Representative
Dr. Chester F. (Skip) Watts, Ph.D., P.G., M.ASCE has over forty (40) years of experience as a distinguished educator and professional geologist. Projects include an MSHA-mandated Board of Inquiry into a mine high wall collapse, a Consultants Review Board for the U.S Army Corps of Engineers at Folsom Dam, and a forensic investigation of a rockfall fatality for the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and many more. Skip is the author of RockPack III software used internationally to evaluate the stability of mountainsides, mines, and highways. Watts created the first fracture permeameter for modeling fluid flow through broken in-filled rock masses, used to test and revise equations accounting for the role of water in rock slides. His career at Radford University has been marked with distinction having received numerous regional and national teaching awards.


Tom Badger – Advisory Board Member
Tom has a BS in geology from Western Washington University (1983) and an MS in geological engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno (2002). In 1984, he started work with the Washington State Department of Transportation, monitoring instrumentation for the I-90 Mt. Baker Tunnel project. Tom has been employed with WSDOT since, and currently serves as the Chief Engineering Geologist. During his 30-year tenure with WSDOT, he’s had the good fortune of working with many talented professionals on a great variety of transportation-related earthwork and structure projects, as well as many landslide and rockfall remediation projects. He is a past chair (2000 and 2002) of the Washington Section of AEG, and a past chair (2003-2009) of the Engineering Geology Committee for the Transportation Research Board, National Academy of Sciences. He is licensed in Washington State as an engineering geologist, hydrogeologist, and professional (civil) engineer.


Vanessa Bateman – Advisory Board Member
Vanessa Bateman, P.G., P.E., is currently the Chief, Geology Section for the Nashville District, US Army Corps of Engineers where she has worked on projects such as the Center Hill Dam Seepage Cutoff Wall installation, Wolf Creek Dam Seepage Cutoff Wall installation, the new Kentucky Lock Construction and the Cordell Hull Rockfall project. She was formerly a Civil Engineering Manager for the Geotechnical Engineering Office at the Tennessee Department of Transportation where she worked on a diverse number of projects including many rock slope stability projects, the 2007 Ocoee Rockslide as well as implementing and managing the TDOT Rockfall program. She was part of the original research team that designed the TN Rockfall Hazard Rating System and implemented the first statewide evaluation in Tennessee.


Jerry Higgins – Advisory Board Member
Jerry Higgins has 40+ years of experience in research, teaching, government service, and consulting in Engineering Geology and Geotechnics. He received a Ph.D. in Geological Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla and is currently an Emeritus Professor at the Colorado School of Mines and a private consultant. His major areas of research and consulting include: site characterization, geological hazards analysis, and rock and soil slope stability. Dr. Higgins has received the Karl and Ruth Terzaghi Outstanding Mentor Award (AEG), the Ivan B. Rahn Eduction Award (SME) and served as the Richard Jahns Distinguished Lecturer in Engineering Geology (AEG/GSA). He is the author of two chapters in the TRB “Rockfall: Characterization and Control” and one chapter in “Landslides: Investigation and Mitigation”.


Elizabeth Peggs – Executive Director
Elizabeth has worked in geoengineering-related non-profit management for 10+ years. She is an officer of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS), is the past Executive Secretary of ASTM International Committee D35, and she regularly attends Committee D18 meetings. Her role with the AGHP is to help facilitate the activities of the association. Her focus is on helping AGHP achieve its short and long-term goals.



The AGHP is Supported By the Canadian Geotechnical Society and Natural Hazards Control and Assessments.