Tuesday, January 17, 2023 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM EST
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Valley Forge Casino 
1160 First Ave
King of Prussia, PA 19406

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Delaware Valley Geo-Institute (DVGI) 
Delaware Valley Geo-Institute (DVGI) 

DVGI January 2023 Dinner Meeting - The Johnstown Flood of 1889: A Case Study in Geotechnical History 

Dear DVGI Members and Friends,     

DVGI invites you to our January 2023 dinner meeting.  The meeting will feature a presentation by Michael Bennett, EIT of A.G.E.S., Inc. titled “The Johnstown Flood of 1889: A Case Study in Exploring Geotechnical History”.  A presentation abstract and speaker bio is below.  

Social hour will start at 5:30PM followed by dinner at 6:30PM with the presentation to follow.  

We anticipate that 1 PDH will be awarded for attending.
Please note our vendor is requiring more advance notice for headcount than the past, therefore we request your registration by Tuesday January 10, 2023.  

Please click on the link below to register.

Presentation Abstract

The Johnstown Flood of 1889, the deadliest US dam failure ever, offers many lessons for geo-professionals.  When the South Fork Dam was built in western Pennsylvania in the mid-19th century to facilitate transportation across the Commonwealth, its design and construction met the contemporary standard of care.  However, decades later, a group of Pittsburgh tycoons hastily rehabilitated the dam to create an exclusive resort.  While their dam repairs were shoddy, warnings of disaster went unheeded.  On May 31, 1889, following a torrential rainstorm, the dam failed, flooding the prosperous steel town of Johnstown and killing over 2,200 people.  After the disaster, outrage over the disaster and calls for justice were widespread.  Yet the connections the tycoons had in the Pennsylvania legislature, the courts, and the press insulated them from the legal and financial fallout of the flood.  The tycoons’ influence even compromised the ASCE investigation of the dam failure.  Although society, the law, dam safety regulations, and engineering ethics have undergone many major positive changes since the disaster, the Johnstown Flood of 1889 stands as a stark reminder of the duties and responsibilities of civil engineers and particularly of geo-professionals. 

About the Speaker
Michael Bennett, E.I.T., works at American Geotechnical and Environmental Services, Inc. in King of Prussia, PA, performing geotechnical engineering in support of transportation projects.  Prior to starting with A.G.E.S., Michael spent 1.5 years on the commercial side of geotech.  He earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a B.A. in History at Lafayette College in 2017 and earned his M.S. in Civil Engineering in the geotechnical program at Virginia Tech in 2019.