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MCEER Movers & Shakers

MCEER Researchers Receive 2005 ASCE Awards

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Kok-Kwang Phoon, Fred H. Kulhawy and Mircea D. Grigoriu received the Norman Medal for their paper “Multiple Resistance Factor Design for Shallow Transmission Line Structure Foundations,” which appeared in the September 2003 issue of ASCE ’s Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. The authors developed simplified reliability-based design equations that are suitable for spread foundations subjected to uplift. The Norman Medal is bestowed upon the authors of a paper that is judged worthy of special commendation for its merit as a contribution to engineering science. Grigoriu is a long-time MCEER researcher and a Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. Phoon is an associate professor in the civil engineering department at the National University of Singapore and director of the Centre for Soft Ground Engineering and Kulhawy is a geotechnical consultant.

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Jeffrey Berman and Michel Bruneau were honored with the J. James R. Croes Medal for their paper “Plastic Analysis and Design of Steel Plate Shear Walls,” which appeared in the November 2003 issue of ASCE ’s Journal of Structural Engineering. In this paper, the authors proposed a revised procedure for the design of steel plate shear walls. The J. James R. Croes Medal is presented to the authors of the paper judged next in order of merit to the paper recognized with the Norman Medal. Berman is a research assistant and Ph.D. candidate in the Dept. of Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering (CSEE), University at Buffalo. He has served as chair of the MCEER’s Student Leadership Council and received the Chair’s Recognition Award. Bruneau is MCEER’s director and a professor in the CSEE department.

Werner Receives Charles Martin Duke Award


Stuart D. Werner has received the Charles Martin Duke Lifeline Earthquake Engineering Award for his contributions in protecting transportation systems from earthquakes; for helping to improve the seismic safety of ports, harbors, and highway systems; and for furthering the aims and objectives of the Society’s Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering. Werner is a long-time researcher on MCEER’s Highway Project, sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration, where he has led the development of the REDARS software package (see article). The Duke award is conferred on an individual in recognition of contributions that have helped to advance the field of lifeline earthquake engineering.

Kathleen Tierney Named EERI’s Distinguished Lecturer for 2006


Kathleen Tierney, Sociology Professor and Director of the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center (NHRAIC) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and MCEER Executive Committee member, has been chosen to give EERI’s 2006 Distinguished Lecture. An EERI member since 1987, Tierney was nominated by the Honors Committee because she is a nationally recognized expert on the human and social dimensions of hazards, disasters, and risk. The NHRAIC is the nation’s leading repository of knowledge on human behavior in disasters. Tierney was also featured in the August 2005 issue of The Kiplinger Monitor, where she provided some advice on how to prepare for the hurricane season.

O’Rourke Named to Panel on Effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans


MCEER Executive Committee member Thomas O’Rourke of Cornell University has been named to a panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering to study the effects of Hurricane Katrina and the adequacy of hurricane protection infrastructure in New Orleans. The committee will provide an independent review of the government’s interagency investigation of the disaster and is also working with an external review panel from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The 16 scientists and engineers from academia and industry on the committee will seek to determine lessons learned from Katrina and to identify ways that hurricane protection system performance can be improved in the future. The committee will issue a final report in September.

Staff News


David Pierro joined MCEER as a Graphic Media Specialist. A graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where he received a B.S. in graphic design, David has worked as a designer at Hyatt’s, the Talking Phone Book and Aakron Rule. He has also done a variety of freelance work and is highly skilled in using a variety of 2-D and 3-D digital media creation tools.

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Hector Velasco, MCEER’s Graphic Media Specialist and Scientific Illustrator, retired from the Center in December, 2005. Hector joined MCEER in 1987 as one of the first staff members. He intends to pursue his hobbies, which include astronomy, photography and travel.

The Bulletin is a free publication offering articles on Center research, cooperative ventures, reports from conferences, educational activities, upcoming events, and reviews of new MCEER publications Spring 2006

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