randy and dave in the lab


Randy O’Rourke founded Geotechnics in 1984 when he set up shop in the basement of his home in Edgewood, just outside of Pittsburgh. His wife Judy was accustomed to dirty clothes piled around the washer and dryer. However, when bags of dirt started to appear, it became a whole different story.

Of course, this prompted a discussion in the O’Rourke household and Randy proceeded to tell Judy about the company he envisioned, Geotechnics. And, yes, he outlined the important role her commandeered Tupperware containers would play for Hydrometers and soils mixing. Some forty years later, by the way, those containers are still in use. You rock, Tupperware.

As Geotechnics began to grow, Randy reached out to his long time lab buddy Dave Backstrom and convinced him that together, they would make a great team. He was right. Randy and Dave were together in a 30+ year partnership that was well-tested over time. Though the team, services and leadership have expanded over the years, the foundation of their business endures: integrity in testing.


JP Kline P.E.


Dan Smith P.E.

615-590-7695 dsmith@geotechnics.net

Michael Smith


Nathan Melaro


Ryan O’Rourke


Tyler Volpe



Three Rivers Leadership Radio Show and Podcast: An Interview with Randy O’Rourke, Founder/President Geotechnics, Inc.


Forty thieves? No forty years.
Here's to the squeaky wheel
-40 degrees shown on a thermometer
A gem of an anniversary

    Gingerbread cookie
    Ice Ice, Baby?
    Rock Music?
    Walking in circles?
    A river runs through it -er, under it?
    Goodness Gracious
    Sheepish Mystery
    Great gobs from the galaxy?
    WOW space
    Baby drooling. Text: 25,000
    trash can trophy 4.5
    Calculator: Hello
    250,000 Dog Yawn
    Toilet. Three
    One Billion Trillion
    It All Adds up to One Happy Holiday
    Well that was fast
    Two All-Beef Patties
    Welcome to Missouri postcard
    That's the spirit
    Short Stack with a side of storm surge?
    Let's make like a banana and split isotopes
    (lightning) Does it ever strike twice?
    Ruff Math
    How much measure would a measurer measure measures?
    Road Tested
    Look, I am your father
    Can testing determine if you're off base?
    Test as if your life depended on it.
    Trust the Protocol
    No matter how big or small, every test counts
    Are you positive? Only a test will tell for sure.
    Strength Tested. Geotechnics
    Heat Tested. Geotechnical Engineering
    Solar tested. Geotechnical Engineering
    Nuclear tested. Geotechnical Engineering
    Hydro Tested. Geotechnical Engineering
    Field Tested. Geotechnical Engineering
    Wind tested. Geotechnics
    Road Tested. Geotechnics
    Introducing the 'flow cone method.' Geotechnical Engineering
    Know your limits
    Some tests are best preformed of a cup of coffee. Geotechnical Engineering
    Who doesn't love 'small diameter borings?' Geotechnical Engineering
    Did someone say conductivity? Geotechnical Engineering
    Introducing our newest leader. Geotechnical Engineering
    Help me, I'm melting. Geotechnical Engineering
    Some shrinkage may occur. Geotechnical Engineering
    How deep is your love
    This is not your fathers shower curtain
    twist and separate?
    Sometimes it helps to get stuck.
    Pile it on. Really.
    the project that hung us out to dry
    Experience makes for winning seasons.
    Experience powers a trailblazer.
    Experience is seldom splashy.
    Experience turns trash in treasure.
    Experience provides good energy.
    Experience proved success is borne from failure.
    Experience makes for an excellent bridge partner.
    A skunk stinks from the head down.
    The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved, the pig is committed.
    Let your integrity be your guide.
    How deadly is deadly?
    How par is par?
    How steep is steep?
    How hot is hot?
    How fast is fast?
    How old is old?
    Everyone loves a mystery, right?
    Some samples come with extra baggage.
    Holy liner, Batman!
    Going Up?
    Nice Ash.
    Nothing like a sweet day in the lab.
    Seriously, how hard was that?
    It it half full? or half empty?
    MMMMM... cheese.
    Pails in comparison.
    Ring bell for service.
    Choose an established method. And make sure the work is reproducible.
    You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish.
    Document everything. Yes, everything.
    There's a right way to do everything.
    Don't just test samples. Test yourself, too.
    Use established techniques, or when not available, make sure to the work is reproducible.
    Keep your data, not matter how you first recorded it.
    Is there anything that can't be fixed with duct tape?
    Life gets more interesting when you bring your balls into the lab.
    Here in the lab, we regularly enjoy using our gourds.
    Finally, proof that we've been busting our nuts in the lab.
    What happens if you catch a 40 lb fish with a 20 lb fishing line?
    Ever wonder how engineers build biodges in candyland?
    We've seen a lot of synthetic materials in our 25 years.
    Guess who made our first 25 years possible.
    25 years ago, we started our company with interest in alternate energy.
    Of all the great duos of the 80's, only one has outdated them all.
    We've taken this, the occasion of our 25th - or - silver - anniversary, to renew our vows.
    For 25 years, we've preformed countless tests, but some things still defy explanation.
    Twenty five years later, we still love playing in the dirt.
    Only through painstakingly precise testing does it all become clear: it's not just what's on the inside that counts.
    Now open for nuclear work.
    Everything has a breaking point. Our job is to help you find yours.
    I came to the United States to make discoveries.
    For accuracy, only one thing matters when you're testing a solid's interaction with a liquid. Repeatability.
    Testing matters. Particularly for bridges that are showing their age.
    Experienced with even the most complicated tests.
    Yes, occasionally you do need to know what's at the very core.
    Of course, the ultimate performance of any dam hinges on a thoroughly detailed site evaluation.
    Structural failure is not an option.
    Mercifully, quantitative methods for precision driving.
    We're pleased to add some fresh new thinking to our geosynthetics lab.
    We've been testing all kinds of material, including vinyl, since the days of, well, vinyl
    We've been testing the limits of membranes since we were kids. And yes, that was a very long time ago.
    A thorough site evaluation is the only way to be really, really sure.
    How well a highway performs is directly proportional to the quality of the data used in building it.
    Introducing one more service that makes us certifiable.
    The propriety and precise testing methodologies of geotechnics reveal our high level of gratitude.
    Any material should be able to withstand intense scrutiny.
    Rigorous testing requires an adequate number of samples for truly reliable results
    It's amazing what you'll uncover through accurate subsurface exploration documentation.
    Never underestimate the effects of weight load and permeability.