A Regular Guy:
Ralph at the Podium - Always the Master of the Situation

The highlight of the 19th Central Pennsylania Geotechnical Conference program in Hershey, PA, May 2002, was "Dinner with Dr. Ralph B. Peck: Geotechnics - Foundations for the Rion Bridge, Greece."

The very large banquet room was arranged so that the head table and speaker were located on the opposite side of the room from the projection screen where Dr. Peck's meticulously-prepared slides were to be shown. As he began his talk, it rapidly became apparent that he could neither see the photos and illustrations in any detail, nor could they be managed using the remote control available to him.

I was sitting across the room, close to both the projector and screen, and was in a position to take over the job advancing the slides at the appropriate time, and Ralph readily accepted my offer to do so. His presentation the moved forward as smooth as silk. His knowledge of the details and the points to be made were so complete that it was not necessary for him to see them on the screen. His presentation was so clear and the flow so logical that it was unnecessary for him to say "Next slide, please." I always knew when it was time to move forward.

It was an honor to be his assistant.

Jim Mitchell, Ph.D., P.E., Hon.M.ASCE

This letter is an excerpt from the Geo-Strata Feature on Professor Peck, Geo-Strata September/October 2008.