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Theme: > Future > Forward >

Conference Program and Schedule*

The Technical Program Committee, led by co-chairs Ray Franz, P.E., D.GE, of Hayward Baker, Inc., and Cassie Rutherford, Ph.D., P.E. of Iowa State University, is developing an innovative schedule of program that illuminates the >Future >Forward> theme.
Joining us pre-conference activities? View and download the schedule of DFI Leadership Meetings, Technical Committee and Working Group Meetings, the Lunch & Learn Workshop Series, WiDF Reception and more here.

NEW: View the Schedule of Technical Presentations here and make plans to join us.


Keynote Plenary Session
#DFI44: Future >> Forward is a call to action to develop forward-thinking plans in geotechnical engineering through technical presentations and panel discussions. As an international forum convenes in Chicago, we look forward to kicking off the conference with The Chicago Legacy. This session includes nationally renowned geotechnical engineers who will pay homage to the Observational Method and take us through the history of geotechnical practice toward  the future.
The session will kick off with a local celebrity, Geoffrey Baer, a beloved Chicago historian, entertainer and tour guide.  He will present his impressions of the history, culture and people that have shaped the Chicago River corridor.  Baer will set the stage for our panel of geotechnical experts who will discuss engineering legends and the influence of their lessons  on the foundations for our drive to the future.  Our experts will discuss the Observational Method, deep foundations, earth retention and the future.  The panel includes Rick Deschamps, Rich Finno, Tony Kiefer, Steve Scherer, Bob Schock and Bill Walton.

Technical Poster Presentations

Throughout the conference, Technical Posters will be on display in the Exhibit Hall representing the programmatic emphases of this conference. At the Conference Welcome Reception on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., the authors of these posters will be available to network with attendees and answer questions about their display. Technical papers about these posters will be featured in the Online Proceedings of the conference. 
To view/download a list of selected Technical Posters, click here.

Student Activities Program*

Plans are in progress for an exciting Student Activities Program during the conference. Led by May ElKhattab, P.E., ENV SP of Arup, the Student Activities Committee is exploring several opportunities for collegiate and graduate students to network and socialize with industry professionals and attend technical presentations at the conference. A career fair, tour of Chicago’s engineering and architectural sites of note and more will be features of the program.
Student registration is $100.00 for the entire conference. This fee includes registration materials, access to the student program and technical presentations, networking breakfasts and breaks in the exhibit hall, access to the online proceedings of the conference, and more. 

The Student Activities Committee is planning a career fair and Scavenger Hunt of Chicago’s Engineering and Architectural sites. Free membership with DFI is also available. View a flyer about the program and share it with other students and collegiate faculty. Register for the conference today

Is your company interested in sponsoring the Student Activities Program or participating in the Career Fair? You will have an opportunity to select this sponsorship option when you register. Connect with us about the Career Fair at events@dfi.org.

FREE STUDENT MEMBERSHIP | Did you know that a DFI Student Membership may be at no cost to you? Learn more on DFI’s website. Questions about membership? Email us at staff@dfi.org.

*Student Program and Schedule is subject to change.

Student Activities Program Sponsors

The Student Activities Committee thanks the following companies for sponsoring the conference’s Student Program. Please consider serving as a Sponsor with a contribution of $500.00 or your best gift toward this program in support of the future industry professionals who are attending this event.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

What Did You Say? Effective Communication Skills

Continuing our lunchtime workshop series this year, we will engage in a conversation about effective communication. Employers cite communication skill as one of the most valued attributes when hiring new employees and while interacting with clients and colleagues. A group of DFI committee members will present a variety of effective communication topics and we will discuss ways to cultivate them.
Make plans to join us for the next installment of this light and fun workshop series.

Hal Hunt Lecture on Communication

The Hal Hunt Lecture was established in 1989 to recognize notable communicators in the Deep Foundations Industry. The Lecture was named in honor of Hal W. Hunt, one of the initial organizers of DFI. This year the Women in Deep Foundation Committee, led by Maysill Pascal, P.E., of Menard USA, will organize the lecture.
2019 Hal Hunt Lecturer
This year’s Hal Hunt Lecture on Communications is being presented by Linda Alvarado, co-owner of the Colorado Rockies. She will deliver a talk titled Embracing Change: It is Brains, Not Just Brawn. Although she may not play on the field, Alvarado is a major leaguer when it comes to the business of baseball. As the first Hispanic woman to enter the baseball dugout, she is a dynamic entrepreneur who has proven successful in a variety of ventures. Find out more.
The Hal Hunt Lecture is taking place on Thursday, Oct. 17 during the Conference.
Previous Hal Hunt lecturers sponsored by the Educational Trust include:
Dr. Mae Jemison, NASA Astronaut
Carl Lewis, U.S. Olympian-Track & Field
Archie Manning, NFL Player
Billy Beane, Oakland A's Manager
Be a Sponsor of the Lecture
This lecture is supported by the generous donations of companies and individuals, such as yourself. Net proceeds benefit the DFI Educational Trust. To arrange for a sponsorship/donation, click here.
Sponsorship Opportunities
Cornerstone Sponsor
Supporting Sponsor
Patron Sponsor
Sponsor (Individuals Only)
A General Donation of your choosing is appreciated, too!

Hal Hunt Sponsors

Patron Sponsors

General Sponsors

Legends Award Program

Every four years, DFI and the DFI Educational Trust honor three practitioners — an engineer, contractor and manufacturer/supplier — that have made significant contributions and advancements to the research, design, construction, manufacturing and use of deep foundations. Congratulations to the 2019 winners:
Engineering Legend:
Dr. Bengt H. Fellenius, former professor of Civil Engineering, University of Ottawa
Contractor Legend:
Thomas J. Wysockey, chairman emeritus, Thatcher Foundations (posthumously)
Manufacturer/Supplier Legend:

Thomas Bauer, past chairman of the supervisory board, BAUER Group

The Legends Award Program is taking place on Thursday, Oct. 17 during the Conference and the schedule is as follows:


  • 4:05 – 4:10 p.m.  Introduction of Program and Thank You to the Sponsors by DFI President – Mathew Janes
  • 4:10 – 4:15 p.m.  Announcement and Presentation of Legends Medals by Program Moderator – John Wolosick
  • 4:15 – 4:25 p.m.  Presentation on career and lifetime achievements of Manufacturer Legend, Thomas Bauer
  • 4:25 – 4:35 p.m.  Presentation on career and lifetime achievements of Contractor Legend, Thomas J. Wysockey
  • 4:35 – 4:45 p.m.  Presentation on career and lifetime achievements of Engineering Legend, Bengt H. Fellenius
  • 4:45 – 5:45 p.m.  Question & Answer Session between audience, moderator and legends
Be a Sponsor of the Legends Awards

This lecture is supported by the generous donations of companies and individuals, such as yourself. To arrange for a sponsorship/donation, click here and select Legends Awards Sponsorship in the Sponsor Opportunities Section.

Sponsors will be acknowledged on this website, at the podium during the Legends Awards Program, on signage at the conference and in the Legends Awards Program Booklet if sponsorship received by Friday, September 20, 2019.  Be sure to upload your logo with your registration or email it to events@dfi.org.

Legends Program Sponsors

Young Professor and Student Paper Competitions

Each year the Deep Foundations Institute Educational Trust hosts Young Professor and Student paper competitions for those studying in the fields of engineering, construction and geological sciences. The authors of the winning papers will be invited to attend the DFI 2019 Annual Conference on Deep Foundations in Chicago, Illinois, to present their papers. Conference registration, two nights of lodging, and a $1,000.00 stipend for travel expenses will be provided to the winners. Both the winner and first runner-up will receive a library of up to 20 printed DFI Publications and a complimentary two-year full Individual Membership in DFI. Details about abstract submission are forthcoming.

Professional Development Hours

Deep Foundations Institute provides general professional development hours for conference attendees. The number of hours provided for this conference will be announced summer 2019 and are usually around 15, depending on the final program structure.

NEW! For New York State Licensed Engineers:

The New York State Educational Department now certifies the PDHs earned by attendees at DFI’s conferences, seminars and workshops. Stay tuned for updates regarding documentation requirements from NYSED for technical session speakers and attendees.

Author Guidelines and Deadlines at a Glance
View the complete Author Guidelines document here.

Accepted Authors Confirm by Email to speakers@dfi.org their Ability and Agreement to Submit Draft Paper, Finalize and Present their Papers.

Friday, February 1, 2019
Author Deadline to Submit Draft Paper to www.dfisubmissions.org.
Friday, April 5, 2019
DFI Notifies Authors of Presentation Status by email from support@incontrolproductions.com. Reviews Available through their Author Account at www.dfisubmissions.org.
Monday, June 24, 2019
Authors Re-Confirm Ability to Present and Finalize Paper by Submitting the Following: Final Presentation Title, Presenter’s Names, Short Biographies, and Presentation Release Form via DFI’s online ShareFile platform (link to be posted by July 5, 2019). All Presenters Register for Conference at www.dfi.org/annual2019.
Friday, June 28, 2019
Authors Submit Final Papers and Exclusive Publishing Agreements through their Author Account at www.dfisubmissions.org.
Friday, July 19, 2019
Final PowerPoint Presentation Files Submission Deadline with Audio/Video Requirements Form via DFI’s online ShareFile platform. Use this link. Please view this checklist of deadlines and documents requested to ensure you’re all set for your presentation.
Friday, September 13, 2019
Questions? Email us at events@dfi.org.