Team — Ground Truth
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John Westland

I am the president and founder of Ground Truth Engineering, a company created to assist a wide range of clients with their most challenging underground projects. I have been recognized as an expert for the purposes of formal court testimony and arbitration proceedings, and I delight in undertaking peer reviews that promote mutual learning and project success.

I began my career with Golder Associates in 1985, which at the time was a boutique consulting firm whose founders were pioneers in geotechnical engineering practice. My first several years were spent “in the field”, getting my hands dirty conducting subsurface investigations, and testing and inspecting the ground on construction sites. The key to managing subsurface risk is understanding the reality of the ground and its inherent variability—the reality visible on site is vastly more intricate than the idealized academic models that underpin geotechnical theory.

My immersion in projects like Toronto’s Sheppard Subway gave me experience in the full project cycle, from investigation to design, construction and dispute resolution. That project was completed on budget and illustrated the value of comprehensive site investigation and unambiguous geotechnical baselines in mitigating risk. Mitigating subsurface risk, whether for natural hazard control or for urban development, is the fundamental role of geotechnical engineers. Failure to mitigate such risks can put the public at risk and doom an underground project to cost overruns, schedule delays, and protracted disputes.

My 30 years of experience have given me the instinct and intuition necessary to temper geotechnical analysis with art and judgement. I have brought that experience to peer reviews of projects such as Vancouver’s Canada Line tunnels, York-Durham Sewage System tunnelling projects and Waterfront Toronto’s flood protection works.

To provide a thorough and understandable expert opinion, I apply a sound understanding of geotechnical theory, broad experience, and excellent communication skills. I have been retained to give expert opinion on more than 50 forensic investigations of geotechnical failures and contractual disputes arising from ground conditions and behaviour.

I have been recognized as an expert for the purposes of formal court testimony and in arbitration proceedings, and have also participated in alternative dispute resolution proceedings, where I have made presentations to dispute review boards and rigorously defended my conclusions in the face of countering expert opinion and interrogation from board members.

At Ground Truth I look forward to the opportunity to work with you to successfully execute underground projects and to helping to illuminate the truth if disputes arise during construction.

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John Busbridge

I am a principal consultant with Ground Truth where I bring over 50 years of global experience to clients facing challenging geotechnical issues on all sizes of projects, including large, complex underground projects. I have served as a consultant and senior technical reviewer through the investigation, design and construction of major bridge, tunnel and deep excavation projects and participated in disputes review and arbitration hearings, as well as serving on international technical review boards.

As a vice president of Golder Associates, I was responsible for Golder Associates’ global activities in geo-civil engineering projects, and from 2000 until 2010 I was responsible for Golder Associates’ operations in South America, where we were involved in many large mining projects.  I was a member of the Golder Associates board of directors and/or global management team for 20 years and in 1995 and 1996 served a term as President of Golder Associates. Throughout my tenure in executive positions I  stayed directly connected to active projects, providing direction and guidance to the company’s geotechnical specialists and advising them and our clients on how best to manage the subsurface risks they faced.

Since 2007, I have been a member of the five-person International Board of Advisors to the Land Transport Authority of the Government of Singapore. The Board typically meets twice annually to review civil and geotechnical issues in the design and construction of Singapore’s  $120B road and transit expansion program – one of the most challenging civil infrastructure programs in the world.My review work in Singapore rounds out international experience that has involved me in large heavy-civil projects in the United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Iran, Abu Dhabi and the Carribean, and mine development projects throughout South America.

My international experience allowed me to bring a fresh perspective to the large infrasructure projects that I have contributed to in North America from my home base in Toronto over the past 38 years. CN’s St. Clair River tunnel, the Toronto Transit Commission’s Sheppard and Spadina Subways, its Harbourfront LRT, New York’s 63rd Street Connector tunnel and the Massachusett’s Water Resources Authority sewer separation program are examples of challenging projects that I am proud to have been a part of.

At Ground Truth I look forward to bringing my 50 years of experience to support you and your teams to investigate, design and build underground.

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