Prior to joining Geosyntec, he spent 23 years as a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California at Berkeley where he taught and conducted research in Computational Geomechanics, Geotechnical, Geotechnical Earthquake and Offshore Engineering. Dr. Pestana has authored or coauthored more than 150 research publications. His research awards include the National Science Foundation CAREER award on modeling cyclic behavior of cohesionless soils, the ASCE Arthur Casagrande Award for contributions to constitutive modeling of soil behavior, the ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize for contributions to constitutive and numerical modeling in Geotechnical Engineering, and the Shamsher Prakash Research Prize for significant contributions to Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering.
Dr. Pestana has worked extensively on the numerical analysis of levees and dams as well as ground improvement techniques for stability and mitigation of settlements and limiting ground deformations in soft ground conditions and liquefaction prone soils. He performed/supervised numerical modeling to estimate ground deformations and stability for sensitive levees in California and he led the UC Berkeley team performing numerical evaluations of the performance of levees in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. He has performed numerical modeling and optimization of ground improvement, using Cement Deep Soil Mixing (CDSM) techniques, for LNG facilities that saved the client tens of millions of dollars. He has conducted research on the use of stone columns and vertical drains for liquefaction mitigation and ground control in soft and liquefaction prone soils He has provided advice on construction sequence (stage-construction) and interim stability as well as provide guidance on expected ground deformations resulting for construction activities such as excavation and associated dewatering. He recently worked in the modeling of hydraulic fracturing of an earth dam from grouting injections performed during the remediation and construction of a vertical cut-off system. He has participated in over 40 professional courses worldwide over the last 20 years on the use of numerical tools to model geotechnical problems and he is recognized as a world expert in soil behavior and its modeling. He has extensive consulting experience in difficult construction projects and provides expert services for litigation support.