COGGE Members




MARTIN W. McCANN, Chair, is president of Jack R. Benjamin and Associates, Inc. and is also a consulting professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University. At Stanford, he is a former chair of the National Performance of Dams Program, which created a national network to report dam safety incidents and to archive this information for use by the geotechnical and seismic engineering communities. Dr. McCann’s professional background and research have focused on probabilistic hazards analysis including hydrologic events, risk assessment, reliability and uncertainty analysis, and systems analysis. He has been a consultant to several government and private sector groups in the U.S. and abroad and has served on three NRC committees including the Committee on Integrating Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience. Dr. McCann received a B.S. in civil engineering from Villanova University and an M.S. in structural engineering and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Stanford University.

SHOBHA BHATIA is a Meredith Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Syracuse University. Dr. Bhatia’s research experiences include soil liquefaction, soil characterization through image analysis, soil and geotextile filters, soil erosion and geosynthetics. More recently, Dr. Bhatia has focused her research efforts on the application of geosynthetics and natural materials in waste and sediment processing, fly ash containment, road construction, and erosion control. She has been extensively involved in engineering education. She has taught numerous courses in soil dynamics, seepage and earth dams, sediment management, ground improvement and the role of women and minorities in engineering. She is the co-founder/co-director of Women in Science and Engineering at Syracuse University since 1999, and she is also a founding member of the Women in Engineering Leadership Institute whose mission is to provide support including training, mentoring, and networking opportunities in academic leadership for women engineering faculty in the U.S. She has made significant impact on social justice centered on the use of natural materials in developing countries and the empowerment of women in engineering and science. For example, Dr. Bhatia was awarded a grant from NSF to evaluate the technical, political, and cultural aspects of the use of natural erosion control materials (coir and jute) in India. In 2015, she received a national Women in Engineering ProActive Network University Change Agent award for her impact on diversity and inclusion in engineering. She received her undergraduate and M.S. degrees in civil engineering from IIT Roorkee University, India and her Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

JONATHAN D. BRAY is the Faculty Chair in Earthquake Engineering Excellence at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Bray is a registered professional civil engineer and has served as a consultant on several important engineering projects and peer review panels. He has authored more than 300 research publications on topics that include liquefaction and its effects on structures, seismic performance of earth structures, earthquake ground motions, and earthquake fault rupture propagation. He leads the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association. Dr. Bray is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and has received several honors including the Peck Award, Joyner Lecture, Huber Research Prize, Packard Foundation Fellowship, and NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award. He earned his B.S. from the U.S. Army Military Academy, his M.S. in structural engineering from Stanford University, and his Ph.D. in geotechnical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

DEREK ELSWORTH, NAE, is a professor in the Departments of Energy and Mineral Engineering and of Geosciences and the Center for Geomechanics, Geofluids, and Geohazards at the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Elsworth has expertise in the areas of computational mechanics, reservoir geomechanics, flow and transport in porous media and rock mechanics with application to geothermal energy, the deep geological sequestration of radioactive wastes and of CO2, and the behavior of fractured reservoirs. He has served DOE as an expert elicitor for near-field and altered zone processes at Yucca Mountain (1997-98) and as consultant to the Nulcear Waste Technical Review Board on the Consequences of Igneous Intrustion at Yucca Mountain (2001-03). He received his B.S. in engineering geology and geotechnics from Portsmouth Polytechnic, his M.S. in engineering rock mechanics from the Imperial College London, and his Ph.D. in engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

JAMES K. MITCHELL, NAS/NAE, is currently University Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a consulting geotechnical engineer. Prior to joining Virginia Tech in 1994, he served on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where he held the Edward G. Cahill and John R. Cahill Chair in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering until the time of his retirement in 1993. Concurrent to his tenure at UC Berkeley, he was Chairman of the Civil Engineering Department from 1979-84 and Research Engineer in the Institute of Transportation Studies and in the Earthquake Engineering Research Center. His primary research activities focused on experimental and analytical studies of soil behavior related to geotechnical problems, admixture stabilization of soils, soil improvement and ground reinforcement, physicochemical phenomena in soils, environmental geotechnics, time-dependent behavior of soils, in-situ measurement of soil properties, mitigation of ground failure risk during earthquakes, and sustainability aspects of earthwork construction. He has authored more than 400 publications, including the graduate level text and geotechnical reference Fundamentals of Soil Behavior. A licensed civil engineer and geotechnical engineer in California and professional engineer in Virginia, Dr. Mitchell has served as chairman or officer for numerous national and international organizations including chairman of the U.S. National Committee for the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering and vice president of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. He chaired the National Research Council’s (NRC) Geotechnical Board (1990-1994) as well as three NRC study committees and served as a member of several other NRC study committees. His awards include the Norman Medal, the Walter L. Huber Research Prize, the Terzaghi Lecture Award and the Outstanding Projects and Leaders Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1976 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998. Dr. Mitchell received a B.C.E. degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and S.M. and Sc.D. degrees in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

MATTHEW PIERCE is President of Pierce Engineering and a Senior Associate with Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. Dr. Pierce has over 20 years of experience in the geomechanical analysis of underground and open pit mines with specific expertise in the estimation of rock mass properties and the analysis of caving and collapse potential, fragmentation, subsidence, ore recovery and infrastructure stability. He has also developed specialized numerical modelling tools for the study of rock mass response from tunnel-scale to mine-scale and from the onset of acoustic emissions through to yield, fragmentation, collapse, and gravity flow. He received his B.S. in geological engineering and his M.S. in mining engineering from the Queen’s University in Canada, and his Ph.D. in mining engineering from the University of Queensland in Australia.