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.

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



Ahren Bichler – President
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.


Colby Barrett – Vice President
Colby has served the Association of Geohazard Professionals as a directing member since 2015 and co-chairs the association’s Rope Access Committee. After studying Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley and Oxford University on an NROTC scholarship, Colby served as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps. Colby has worked in the geohazard industry for over 15 years, managing projects throughout the continental United States, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. He is an active geotechnical researcher in soil nailing and confined soils, holds several patents in the field, serves as a member of the Deep Foundations Institute Landslide/Slope Stabilization Committee, and won the prestigious EY Entrepreneur of The Year™ award in 2014.


Ghislain Brunet – Immediate Past 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 ASTMInternational 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.


Pierce Runnels – Secretary
Pierce is currently the President and General Manager of Geobrugg North America. With over 20 years’experience as a licensed, Professional Engineer (PE), Pierce is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC). Pierce currently serves on the AGHP Board as Treasurer and Education Committee liaison. He is a member of ASCE and AEG and serve on the Geohazard subcommittee at ASTM as well as the Board of Directors for the Sandoval Economic Alliance, a local economic development agency. Pierce will continue to bring a wide range of experience and industry knowledge to the AGHP.


Mike Koutsourais – Treasurer
Mike Koutsourais, PE is a professional geotechnical engineer with over 25 years of experience in geotechnicaldesign and construction, business and operations management, product, business and strategy development, and technical sales and marketing of geotechnical construction products. Mike’s primary experience has been working in the field of mechanically stabilized earth, soil and rock slope stabilization, retaining walls, geosynthetics and erosion control. He is responsible for the technical and marketing activities in the North American markets for the rockfall business of Maccaferri USA. He has an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a major in geotechnical engineering and is a member of the ASTM International Committee for the Geohazard Protection Systems.


Martin Derby – Individual Member Representative
Mr. Derby is currently a senior geohazard practice leader with Golder Associates and has over 33 years of experience in performing detailed subsurface exploration, monitoring/pipeline subsidence programs, geotechnical design for soil stabilization, and environmental remediation/construction oversight. Mr. Derby is the Chair of the Association of Geohazard Professionals – Geohazard Monitoring and Instrumentation section, former vice chair of the Surveillance, Operations and Monitoring section of the Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI), and former chair of the ASCE – Energy and Environment Nexus Committee. Martin received his associate’s degree from civil engineering technology from Hudson Valley Community College, his bachelor’s degree in geological sciences from the University of Buffalo, and his master’s degree in geoscience from Montclair State University. Martin is currently a PhD candidate in the Geohazards program at the University at Buffalo. His research is focused on subsidence and slope/landslide monitoring with advanced remote sensing methods including InSAR and ground based InSAR. Martin is the author of several technical papers relating to geology/subsidence and monitoring, and has presented throughout North America and Europe. Martin is licensed as a professional geologist in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Alaska.


Scott Anderson – Advisory Board Member
Scott A. Anderson is a principal geotechnical engineer at BGC Engineering in Golden Colorado. He has wide ranging geotechnical design and construction experience in the transportation, water resources, mining, and pipeline industries. His experience includes earthwork, retaining structures, foundation design and construction, and ground modification techniques. He is experienced in remote sensing, geophysical and drilling site characterization, and the determination of soil and rock properties and design parameters. He has provided oversight and review of design and construction as well as contributed to research and deployment of training and new technology in many areas of practice. Prior to joining BGC Engineering, Dr. Anderson was the Geotechnical Services Team Leader for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Recource Center from 2008 to 2017; and prior to that, he held geotechnical leadership roles for the Federal Lands Highway Division of FHWA for 6 years. Dr. Anderson had roles of staff geologist to senior consulting engineer for Woodward Clyde Consultants and URS Corporation from 1984 to 1991, coincident with his graduate work, and full time from 1995 to 2002. Dr. Anderson was an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Hawaii from 1991 to 1995. He is a licenced professional engineer in HI, UT, and CO. Recently, he was awarded the FHWA Engineer of the Year in 2014, he was the recipient of the K.B. Woods Award in 2016 from the Transportation Research Board for contribution to the design and construction of transportation facilities, and he served as the 2017 Jahns Distinguished Lecturer for the Association of Engineering Geologists and the Geological Society of America, providing contributions on geohazards, risk, and advancing developments in engineering geology. Dr. Anderson has been the recipient of National Science Foundation and other research funding, has served as FHWA liaison for numerous National Cooperative Highway Research Program projects, and has been an Advisory Panel member for the US DOT (RITA). Dr. Anderson holds a B.A. and M.S. in engineering geology from the Unvieristy of Colorado, Boulder and Colorado State University, respectively, and he received an M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.


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.


Silas Nichols – Advisory Board Member
Silas Nichols is the Principal Geotechnical Engineer for the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Infrastructure. Silas is responsible for providing leadership and direction for the FHWA National Geotechnical Team through policy development, technical guidance development, and coordination with industry and professional groups. Silas has been with the FHWA for 15 years both in Headquarters and with the Resource Center. Silas has a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Syracuse University, and a Master’s Degree in Geotechnical Engineering from Tuft’s University. Prior to employment with the FHWA, Silas served more than 10 years in private consulting in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States.


Skip Watts – Advisory Board Member
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.



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