J.A. “Jay” Padgett, a well-respected, devoted ASCE member since 1972 who helped steer changes to the Society’s governance as a member of the Executive Committee’s Governing Documents Committee, has died at 72.
Padgett, P.E., F.ASCE, represented the former District 5 on ASCE’s Board of Direction from 1998 to 2000. He was extremely active in the National Capital Section, serving as president in 1986-87.
Padgett took great pride in his contributions to ASCE, which included organizing the 150th Anniversary Conference in 2002, work on the Vision 2025 initiative, and serving on the committee that provides leadership training for Section, Branch, and Region officers. He also served as a governor of ASCE’s Geo-Institute.
“I consider being Section president an achievement and honor,” he wrote in 2016. “Being able to serve ASCE as a Director, and participate in Society business at that level, has been beyond anything I’d ever imagined.”
He was founder and president of GeoServices Corporation, which provided geotechnical and environmental engineering services in the Washington, DC, area for 25 years.
Over his 45-year career, Padgett applied novel ways to solve challenging geotechnical problems, such as detecting a contaminated plume by adapting an obscure sampler, and correcting Amtrak’s Northeast corridor rail line embankments in Maryland. He performed the deepest land-based dilatometer soundings ever done (at 400 feet), then co-authored a paper to show others how.
Padgett earned his master’s degree in civil engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Dickinson College.
His advice to young engineers reflected how much he appreciated being involved with ASCE. “Become engaged beyond your employment, with technical and professional organizations and your community. Volunteer for meaningful roles. Lend your professional perspectives to public matters. Being involved will have its rewards.”