Shallow foundations on undisturbed soil, soil and rock fill, and weathered and un-weathered bedrock

    Deep foundations including drilled piers, driven piles, auger-cast piles, micro-piles and rammed-aggregate piers

   Subgrade stabilization using undercut and replacement, bridging, aggregate reinforcement, cement stabilization, wick drains, stones columns and sinkhole repair 

   Analysis for vertical, horizontal and uplift loads, settlement/deformation, slope stability, pavement layer thickness and site-specific seismic assessment 

   Geologic experience in residual soils, sedimentary bedrock, colluvium, alluvium, coastal sediments and glacial deposits 

   Forensic assessment, peer review, and expert opinions for distressed buildings, slopes and pavements 


Geoprofessional Business Association (ASFE), Chairperson, Geotechnical Business Council (appointed 2014)

ASTM International, Member, Committee D 18 on Soil and Rock

American Society of Civil Engineers, Member, founding member and former Chairperson of Tennessee Geotechnical Group

I use the experience gained in a career spanning more than 30 years to find cost-effective geotechnical solutions while effectively communicating potential risks. My broad range of experience includes projects with construction costs up to $600 million. I have also held senior executive and board director positions with two consulting firms with gross annual billings up to $50 million.


 2008 to 2014, TTL, Inc. in Nashville, Tenn., Chief Operating Officer and Principal Geotechnical Engineer of a $20 million geotechnical, environmental, construction materials 
engineering and testing, and analytical testing laboratory firm with seven offices located in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia

2005 to 2008, QORE, Inc. in Nashville, Tenn., President and Chief Executive Officer of a $50 million company with more than 20 offices located in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina,
​ Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Texas

1997 to 2005, QORE, Inc. in Nashville, Tenn., Branch Manager and Principal Geotechnical Engineer, started and managed the branch building it to a staff of nearly 30 team members
with annual fees of $2.5 million ​

1992 to 1997, Law Engineering in Nashville, Tenn., Geotechnical Department Manager and Principal Geotechnical Engineer

1990 to 1991, Law Engineering in Nashville, Tenn., Senior Geotechnical Engineer

1989 to 1990, Ground Engineering and Testing Service in Louisville, Ky., Senior Geotechnical Engineer

1985 to 1989, Law Engineering in Nashville, Tenn., Project Geotechnical Engineer

​ 1984 to 1985, Louisville Gas & Electric Company in Louisville, Ky., Civil Engineer


​M. Eng., Civil Engineering (Specialization in Geotechnical Engineering), 
​University of Louisville, 1983

​B.S. Applied Science (Civil Engineering),
University of Louisville, 1982


    Automative plant expansions for Nissan in Smyrna and Decherd, Tenn., and Toyota in Georgetown, Ky., with construction costs up to $400 million 

    LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., the 67,000-seat home of the NFLs Tennessee Titans 

    Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn., a 1,200,000 square-foot convention facility completed in 2013

    Medical Center Parkway in Murfreesboro, Tenn., bridges over the Stones River and CSX railroad 

    Joe B. Jackson Parkway in Murfreesboro, Tenn., four retaining walls for a bridge over the Stones River and CSX railroad 

    University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., North Engineering Research Center, a 206,000 square-foot facility with state-of-the-art research laboratories completed in 2013 

    Elmwood Medical Complex in Metairie, La., a nine-story hospital built to span over a two-story building 

    Tennessee Department of Transportation in Smith County, Tenn., new 2-mile long truck climbing lane

    Lake Tansi Dam in Crossville, Tenn., evaluation and repair of two sinkholes that formed on the surface of the dam

    Oil Storage Tank in Wood River, Ill., repair of a crumbling ring wall foundation for a 110-foot diameter, 48-foot tall, steel tank

    Central Waste Water Treatment Plant Expansion in Nashville, Tenn., tanks and below-ground structures for a major EPA-mandated expansion completed in the 1990s

    Roadway Relocations in Chattanooga, Tenn., roads displaced by a new lock at Chickamauga Dam

    Proposed Municipal Solid Waste Landfill in Blountville, Tenn., a 70-acre landfill in karst terrain

    Skyline Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., a nine-story hospital built on a site requiring cuts and fills up to 75 feet deep

    Bennett Road Extension in Cookeville, Tenn., new four-lane road about 2.7 miles long with a bridge over an existing railroad 

    US Navy Home Port in Galveston and Corpus Christi, Texas, site evaluation for a proposed naval dock facility

    Proposed Mall Expansion in Nashville, Tenn., a multi-phase expansion to a major retail center

    National Client Programs, performed engineering evaluations and managed consulting work throughout the US for several clients including Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Ryder      
​    Truck Rental, Lowe's and Service Merchandise

    Bridge Replacements in Ft. Campbell, Ky., replacement of four existing bridges in karst geologic setting 

    TVA Johnsonville Steam Plant in New Johnsonville, Tenn., evaluated the cause of two sinkholes that occurred on an earthen dike impounding fly ash at the plant

    Tennessee State Route 15 in Scott County, Tenn., a 5.5-mile by-pass with cuts up to 90 feet deep and fills up to 40 feet thick 


Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota


Commercial buildings (up to 24 stories) | Heavy industrial structures | Automative plants | Athletic facilities | Hospitals | Roadways/airports | Dams/levees/ash ponds | Landfills | Water and wastewater treatment plants | Forensic evaluations


Heckel, R.D. (2001). “Geotechnical Engineering: Professional Service or Commodity?” American Society of Civil Engineers, Nashville Branch Newsletter, November 2001. 

Heckel, R.D. and Niehoff, J.W. (1996). "Internal Erosion Involving Concrete Pipes Through Earth Dams," Proceedings, The Association of State Dam Safety Officials Southeastern
Regional Conference, pp. 3-11.

Heckel, R.D. and Sowers, G.F. (1995). "Internal Erosion at Lake Tansi Dam," Proceedings, The Association of State Dam Safety Officials Annual Conference, pp. 695-703. 

Heckel, R.D. (1983). "A Computer Program to Predict Time Rate Settlement," Master's Thesis, University of Louisville, Ky.