70th birthday of
Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Ziegler 

February 2024 

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Ziegler, Managing Partner of ZAI Ziegler und Aulbach Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH and former Head of the Institute of Foundation Engineering, Soil Mechanics, Rock Mechanics and Hydraulic Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, celebrated his 70th birthday on 24 February 2024.

Martin Ziegler was born in Oberkirch in the Black Forest. After graduating from high school in 1973, he began his studies in civil engineering, specialising in soil mechanics and foundation engineering at the University Fridericiana in Karlsruhe, which he completed in 1979 as the best student in his year. He was awarded the Tulla Medal and the Bilfinger-Berger Prize for his main diploma examination. After additional postgraduate studies in soil mechanics at the Institute for Soil Mechanics and Rock Mechanics at the University of Karlsruhe, he began his professional career as a research assistant at the same institute. While working there, he wrote his dissertation on the subject of "Calculation of displacement-dependent earth pressure in sand", which he successfully defended on 3 July 1986. From 1987 to 2000, he held various positions at Philipp Holzmann AG. Ultimately, as Managing Director of Philipp Holzmann Planungsgesellschaft mbH in Neu-Isenburg, he was responsible for commercial administration as well as the departments of infrastructure as well as project and claim management. In 2000, Martin Ziegler was finally called to the Chair of Foundation Engineering, Soil Mechanics, Rock Mechanics and Hydraulic Engineering at RWTH Aachen University.

Throughout his time as professor, teaching and thus the training of young engineers always took top priority for him. He also devoted a great deal of time and effort to research. This included both classical and numerical soil mechanics topics, such as hydraulic failure, as well as innovative topics such as the use of geosynthetics, artificial ground freezing and the exploitation of geothermal energy. At the same time, Martin Ziegler has always kept close ties to practitioners and has been involved in many complex geotechnical projects as a consultant, expert and problem solver. In 2013, in collaboration with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Benjamin Aulbach, these activities led to the founding of "ZAI Ziegler und Aulbach Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH", which has since become known as a reliable consulting firm whose primary goal is to ensure the highest quality in both consulting and the preparation of expert reports.

Also worth mentioning are Martin Ziegler's numerous voluntary activities in many national and international committees and associations, such as the Centre for German and International Construction and Civil Engineering Law (CBTR), the German Society for Geotechnical Engineering (DGGT) and the Society for the Study of Underground Transportation Facilities (STUVA). In 2015, Martin Ziegler was honoured by the CBTR, which was founded in 2001 to create a joint platform for engineers and lawyers, with the award of the Asparagus Shovel for his outstanding work in the field of geotechnics - in particular regarding German law on subsoil and civil engineering.

As Chairman of the Board, Martin Ziegler has led the STUVA since 2013 and has since been inseparably linked to its positive development and, above all, the STUVA conferences, which take place every two years. In particular, the internationally acclaimed conference with sessions on tunnelling and tunnel operation and the accompanying exhibition have repeatedly set records in terms of the number of participants and the size of the exhibition in recent years.

Since handing over the Chair of Geotechnical Engineering in 2020, Martin Ziegler has continued to focus on his work at ZAI Ziegler und Aulbach Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH. In the same year, the company relocated its headquarters from Aachen to Aschaffenburg in the Rhine-Main region of Bavaria. The new premises at Stengerstrasse 9 offer an ideal central location to be able to work on construction projects throughout Germany and abroad in the future.

At the 37th Baugrundtagung of the German Society for Geotechnics ('DGGT'), which took place from 5 to 8 October 2022 in Wiesbaden, ZAI was exhibiting for the first time and the enormous and positive influence that Martin Ziegler has had and continues to have in his professional career was particularly visible. On the evening of the get-together, more than 40 experts from various fields of geotechnics, whom he had accompanied during their studies as a professor at RWTH Aachen University, spontaneously gathered at the ZAI booth in the trade exhibition.

Another milestone was finally reached in 2023 when Martin Ziegler, together with his business partner Benjamin Aulbach and the employees of ZAI, celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the company. In the magnificent setting of the Ridinger Hall at Johannisburg Castle, Martin Ziegler officially opened the celebrations with around 100 invited guests. After entertaining speeches and refreshments from the sumptuous buffet, the celebrations continued with friends and colleagues accompanied by cool drinks.

Even though Martin Ziegler wants to spend more time with his family and on recreational activities in the future, he will continue to work on interesting projects and tasks in the field of geotechnics. We are very pleased that he is still contributing his knowledge and wealth of experience to ZAI with full commitment and dedication. On behalf of his partners, colleagues and employees, we would like to take this opportunity to wish him all the very best for his personal and professional future.

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