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Interview with a Survivor Podcast

In the first series, Interview with a Survivor, hosts Lucky Nagarajan and Tim Siegel will be speaking with industry experts about their near misses, problem projects and resolutions.

Nagarajan is the general manager-engineering and business development at Giken America Corporation. She is a member of the DFI Board of Trustees and the chair of DFI’s Women in Deep Foundations Committee.

Siegel is CEO/senior principal engineer at Dan Brown & Associates. He is chair of the DFI Ground Improvement Committee and co-editor of the DFI Journal.

Episodes of Interview with a Survivor were released monthly over:

If you would like to be involved, reach out to [email protected]

Series Sponsor


Interview with a Survivor

Episode 1: Getting Sued: An Engineer’s Tale.

The episode features a discussion with William (Billy) Camp, III, P.E., D.GE, technical principal and vice president at SM&E, about the impending failure of a sheet pile wall at the North Charleston port. Billy went through the proverbial “gauntlet” on this project. We step through the project, challenges and Billy’s role.

Release date: August 11, 2021
Sponsored by Berkel.


Episode 2: There Will Be Rocks Ahead!

The episode features a discussion with Kord Wissmann, president at Geopier Foundation Co. In this episode, our guest Kord Wissmann will share a few of his professional highs along with a significant low. Kord with Geopier is credited with 28 patents and has played a major part in changing the landscape of ground improvement contracting. However, he also faced the challenge of working through the failure of a ground improvement system below an MSE wall in the US Midwest.

Release date: September 8, 2021
Sponsored by GeoStructures.


Episode 3: Claims, Trains and Automobiles

The episode features a discussion with Greg Righter, President and CEO of Berkel and Company Contractors with an emphasis on the business side of the deep foundation industry.  Greg shares his story about design, construction, and an eventual claim for a support-of-excavation project.  The SOE was located between a roadway and a railway line.  We talk about shared goals, trust, expectations, disappointment, and trying (and succeeding) at getting paid. 

Release date: November 10, 2021
Sponsored by Specrete.


Episode 4: Putting on the Owner’s Shoes

In this episode, guest Cassandra Wetzel, district office manager & principal at GZA, shares her experience with an owner’s perspective. Cassandra discusses the challenges of stabilizing and repairing a retaining wall in a tight, urban location; what it means to work for a nontechnical client and problems that arise when a retaining wall is shared by two owners. Cassandra is a subject matter expert known for creative problem solving and is a well-known rock star in the Metro NY area.

Release date: December 8, 2021
Sponsored by Densification.


Episode 5: Suits with Integrity

The episode features David Wilshaw, President of Integrity Drilling and Geophysical Services, LLC who shares insight on being an expert witness and adventures of legal system which is not everyone’s cup of tea. He has testified about 40 trials and given over 160 depositions. Episode covers conversations on challenges of being an valued expert witness, differences between trials and depositions, why are they important, cross examinations and much more.

Music by Scott Holmes

Release date: January 12, 2022
Sponsored by Universal Engineering.


Episode 6: Beware of the Water

Tom Richards, former chief engineer with Nicholson Construction Company, talks about a joint venture to install micropiles for a bridge. With the best of intentions when accepting the offer to joint venture, Tom and his team encountered problems ranging from an unexpected aquifer to difficulties implementing new design details. Listen as Tom shares his exasperation – even several years after the fact.

Music by Scott Holmes

Release date: February 9, 2022
Sponsored by Ischebeck USA.


Communication Special

In this episode, Lucky and Tim talk with all of our series’ guests about problems with communication.

Music by Scott Holmes

Release date: March 15, 2022


Bonus Episodes

Interview with a Survivor: Bonus Episode — Adventures in Colombia Part 1

Join hosts Lucky Nagarajan and Tim Siegel with guest, Sebastian Lobo-Guerrero Ph.D., P.E., of AGES, who will discuss his adventures in Colombia.


Interview with a Survivor: Bonus Episode — Adventures in Colombia Part 2

Join hosts Lucky Nagarajan and Tim Siegel with guest, Sebastian Lobo-Guerrero Ph.D., P.E., of AGES, as they conclude discussions on Sebastian’s adventures in Colombia.