Liz Smith Named Geo-Institute Cross-USA Lecturer

February 23, 2021

First Woman to Receive This Honor

The Geo-Institute (G-I) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is pleased to announce that Liz Smith, P.E., G.E., D.GE, M.ASCE, has been named its Cross-USA Lecturer for 2020-21. Smith is a Senior Principal and National Transportation Program Manager at Terracon Consultants, Inc.

The Cross-USA Lecture Tour

The Cross-USA Lecture Tour is a program that, each year, brings a distinguished geoprofessional to speak at local G-I Chapters and Graduate Student Organizations. Lecturers are nominated by their professional peers and fellow G-I members, and are selected on criteria that include speaking skill, professional achievement, and prestige in the geoprofessional community. Smith is the tenth Cross-USA Lecturer; the first Lecture Tour was in 2011-12. She is the first woman to be chosen as a Lecturer.

Local G-I groups compete each year for the honor of hosting the Lecturer. The groups that will be chosen to host Ms. Smith will be announced later this year. She will work with each group to select the topic of her lecture.

“I think lots of G-I Chapters will be excited to host and hear from Ms. Smith,” says Jeremy Varner, P.E., M.ASCE, chair of the Local Involvement Committee and member of the Selection Committee. “When we were evaluating the nominees, Ms. Smith stood out because of her depth and breadth of experience. We wanted a national-quality speaker who could have something to share with any and all G-I Chapters. Also, she has been successfully competing as a practitioner for more than 35 years. The previous lecturers have been full-time or at least part time from academia, and we wanted to offer a different perspective on our diverse industry. The Cross-Country Lecture Series is a wonderful way for G-I Chapters to bring in top-quality speakers and content while remaining within their budget constraints.”

“The last five Cross-USA lecturers include George Filz, Andrew Whittle, Paul Mayne, Robert Bachus, and now Liz Smith,” says G-I President James G. Collin, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE., F. ASCE.The G-I is very pleased that Liz has agreed to be our 2020-2021 lecturer and knows that she will provide excellent lectures to the chapters lucky enough to host her.”

Liz Smith: a Geoprofessional Expert and Leader

Liz Smith, P.E., G.E., D.GE, M.ASCE is a senior principal and national transportation program manager at Terracon Consultants, Inc. With more than 35 years’ experience, she has developed significant expertise in geotechnical engineering for design-build transportation projects and slope and retaining wall failure evaluations and remediation. She has been involved in several other areas of transportation geotechnical engineering, including consulting for design-build teams to resolve geotechnical problems on complex projects; owner oversight; and evaluation and repair of foundation, slope, and retaining wall failures. She has successfully managed several complex geotechnical design-build projects with geotechnical fees up to $12 million and construction costs up to $2 billion.

Smith’s most recent design-build projects include Oak Hill Parkway, Austin, Texas; SH130 Forensic Studies, Austin, Texas; Transform 66 -Outside the Beltway Project, Segment 3, Fairfax County, Virginia; Loop 375 Border Highway, El Paso, Texas; US 183 South (Bergstrom Expressway) in Austin, Texas; and I-35E Managed Lanes Project in Dallas and Denton Counties, Texas. She has been geotechnical lead on major proposals and projects in locations across the U.S., including Hawaii, Washington, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, and Virginia.

She has authored papers and given presentations at numerous professional and technical meetings.

Smith is an active member of the following organizations:

  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Geo-Institute of ASCE
  • Geo-Institute of ASCE – Deep Foundations Technical Committee
  • Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA)
  • Deep Foundations Institute (DFI) and its Drilled Shafts Committee and Women in Deep Foundations Committee
  • Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committees: Project Delivery Methods, AFH15; Foundations of Bridges and Other Structures, AFS30
  • Virginia Tech, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Alumni Advisory Board, Past Chair
  • Virginia Tech, CEE Academy of Distinguished Alumni
  • WTS, Past President, Heart of Texas/Austin Chapter

Smith is a Hokie from Virginia Tech with her bachelor of science and master of science in civil (geotechnical) engineering. She and her husband Jack have been married 36 years and have three adult sons, two daughters-in-law, and two grand-dogs. Liz and Jack are happy empty nesters and live in Round Rock, Texas.

About the Geo-Institute

The Geo-Institute is a professional association of geotechnical engineers, geologists, and other geoprofessionals, with over 11,000 members in the United States and around the world. It is a specialty institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers, created in 1996. For more information about the Geo-Institute, please visit or email


Terracon is an employee-owned engineering consulting firm with more than 5,000 employees providing environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services from more than 150 offices with services available in all 50 states. Terracon ranks 22nd on Engineering News-Record’s 2020 list of Top 500 Design Firms.

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