Meet Gordon Denby, PhD, PE
Senior Principal Geotechnical Engineer

Geotechnical engineering
Foundation design
Dam safety

Redmond, WA


Early in Gordon’s career, he worked as a junior civil project engineer on the remediation of a tailings dam that had failed, taking 79 lives. “The liquefaction failure mechanism was not understood back in 1971,” Gordon recounts, adding, “This tragic event changed my career direction significantly, from structural to geotechnical engineering.”

Gordon is the senior principal geotechnical engineer who leads GeoEngineers’ dam safety practice and its risk management program. He is also one of a handful of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission-certified dam safety experts in the country. Gordon has provided geotechnical engineering services to public and private entities since 1978.

In his many years as a leader at GeoEngineers, Gordon has helped influence the company’s culture. “Our culture embodies people caring about and treating each other with respect,” he says. “We also strive to come up with creative solutions to our clients’ problems that others overlook.”

Gordon likes to stay fit and test his endurance. He’s a member of the International Club Cingles, translated from the French as the Club of Crazies, who have cycled up Mont Ventoux in southern France—the mountainous home of the Tour de France race—by all three different routes in one day! His companion “crazy” was former Geo Tacoma colleague Terry Parks. Gordon recently completed the 27.1 mile Sunflower Marathon, which seems mild by comparison.


  • ACEC-Washington Engineering Excellence Bronze Award, Port of Portland Terminal 6 Modernization, Portland, OR, 2013
  • ACEC-Oregon Engineering Excellence Honor Award, Port of Portland Terminal 6 Modernization, Portland, OR, 2013

Selected Presentations & Articles

  • “Shoring System Innovations in the Puget Sound Area,” key address presented at the ASCE Earth Retention Conference, Seattle, WA, August 2010

  • “Piping Study at Upriver Dam, Spokane, Washington,” Gordon Denby, L. Von Thun and K. Terpak presented at the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) Annual Dam Safety Conference, Seattle, WA, September 2010