ASCE has honored Ryan Berg, P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE, with the 2021 Martin S. Kapp Foundation Engineering Award for his expertise in geosynthetic-reinforced earthworks and retaining structures and for lifelong contributions to the developments and applications of MSE walls, which helped create innovative solutions for practical problems.
Berg is one of the leading experts in the design and construction of geosynthetic-reinforced earthworks. He has led in the wide adoption of mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls as well as the development of numerous earth-reinforced applications in the United States. About 40 years ago, he was among the very few engineers who started using geogrids for the reinforcement of retaining walls, a technique that has significantly reduced the cost of highway walls and bridge abutments. Berg is associated with many major breakthroughs and advances related to geosynthetic-reinforced earthworks – for example, in the mid-1980s he led the team that defined and unified various design procedures used for the design and construction of reinforced soil earth retention systems, including MSE wall, reinforced soil slopes, landfill liner support, and landfill liner veneer stability structures.
He has consulted with designers and contractors on many important successful projects, and has led the studies of several iconic failures. Berg has published numerous papers, and importantly, coauthored widely used FHWA and NCMA reference manuals for the design of MSE walls. Through short courses and seminars, he has trained numerous geotechnical engineers in the design of MSE walls using his manuals, e.g., Design and Construction of Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes (2009).
The Martin S. Kapp Foundation Engineering Award recognizes contributions to design or construction of foundations, earthworks, retaining structures, or underground construction. Emphasis is placed on constructed works in which serious difficulties were overcome or substantial economies were achieved.