DFI Announces Winner of 2015 Student Paper Competition 

November 30, 2015, Hawthorne NJ: Kevin Johnson, E.I.T., a Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Florida, in the department of civil and environmental engineering, is the winner of the DFI Educational Trust 2015 Student Paper Competition.

Johnson's paper, "Analysis of Thermal Integrity Profiling Data for Drilled Shaft Evaluation," discusses the most recent nondestructive test method to gain widespread popularity in post-construction evaluation of drilled shafts. Thermal Integrity Profiling (TIP) detects anomalies across the entire cross section of a shaft as well as providing a measure of vertical cage alignment. TIP generally allows for straightforward interpretation of data, but with two exceptions: (1) near the ends of the shaft where heat can escape both radially and longitudinally and (2) where drastic changes in the surroundings are encountered (e.g., soil to water, soil to air). Methods for analyzing these portions of data exist, but can often involve tedious levels of parameter iterations and trial-and-error thermal modeling. Therefore an extensive study of model results is analyzed and compared with data collected from field tests. Johnson's paper provides an overview of the analysis techniques used to convert the measured temperature profile to a shape profile, shows how thermal modeling can be used to track the effects of time on the analysis and concludes with case studies that demonstrate the findings.

Johnson's research focuses on drilled shafts and also includes quality assurance of drilling slurries for drilled shaft construction, development of an effective splicing method for prestressed piles and use of stainless steel strands in prestressed piles. Johnson holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from University of South Florida and prior to starting his doctoral studies he worked for a concrete construction company for six years.

The first runner-up for the Student Paper Competition is Diego A. Aguirre from North Carolina State University. His paper is titled "Soil-Structure Interaction of Reinforced Concrete-Filled Steel Tubes."

The awards were presented at the DFI 40th Annual Conference on Deep Foundations in October 2015 in Oakland, Calif. Johnson presented his paper to conference attendees. The competition papers will be published in a future issue of the DFI Journal.

About the DFI Educational Trust: The Deep Foundations Institute Educational Trust ( is an independent, 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization established in 2006 by the Deep Foundations Institute (DFI) as its charitable arm. The mission of the Trust is to support and encourage individuals in the fields of study related to the deep foundation industry by providing scholarships and opportunities to meet and work with deep foundation industry leaders.

About the Deep Foundations Institute (DFI)
DFI ( is an international association of contractors, engineers, suppliers, academics and owners in the deep foundations industry. Our multi-disciplinary membership creates a consensus voice and a common vision for continual improvement in the planning, design and construction of deep foundations and excavations. We bring together members for networking, education, communication and collaboration. With our members, we promote the advancement of the deep foundations industry through technical committees, educational programs and conferences, publications, research, government relations and outreach. DFI has more than 3,300 members worldwide.

Kevin Johnson receiving award from David Coleman, past chair of the DFI Educational Trust