ASCE Society President-Elect Jean-Louis Briaud Visits Lehigh University

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ASCE President-Elect Briaud (center) tours Lehigh University's Advanced Technology for Structural Systems Engineering Research Center.

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) President-Elect Jean Louis Briaud traveled to Bethlehem in early December to speak at the Lehigh Valley ASCE Section Holiday Dinner Meeting. President-Elect Briaud received his PhD from the University of Ottawa in Canada and is currently a Distinguished Professor in the Zachry Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M. While in town for the Lehigh Valley ASCE event, President-Elect Briaud made a stop at Lehigh University to tour several of the engineering labs and visit with the student chapter officers. Lehigh’s student chapter of ASCE routinely hosts events that are meant to build pride in Lehigh’s academic programs, foster teamwork and companionship among civil engineering students, and create local and regional networks for Lehigh. Among those events is the annual career fair, which is coordinated with Lafayette’s ASCE student chapter for civil engineering students from both schools. This past November marked the 24th annual fair, held at Lafayette.

While at Lehigh, Dr. Briaud visited the Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems (ATLSS) Engineering Research Center, where he saw the ATLSS Large-Scale Multi-Directional Experimental Facility, the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) Lehigh Experimental Facility, the Soil-structure Interaction Testing Facility, and the Imbt Environmental Hydraulics Laboratory located in Fritz  Laboratory. Dr. Briaud also spent time with Lehigh’s Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department, including Panos Diplas, P.C. Rossin Professor, CEE Chair, and I-CPIE faculty. Diplas was elected as a Fellow of the ASCE in 2018, an honor given to practitioners and educators who have distinguished themselves as mentors and leaders in the civil engineering profession and whose impact is felt on a global scale. Diplas studies phenomena related to the dynamics of water, sediment and contaminant transport through waterways, floodplains and wetlands. Previously, he has been named recipient of the H.A. Einstein Award from ASCE for significant contributions to the understanding of river mechanics, erosional processes and sediment transport.

Dan M. Frangopol, the Fazlur R. Khan endowed Chair of Structural Engineering and Architecture, is another I-CPIE faculty member with a long and active history with ASCE. In 2016 he was invited to join the ASCE Industry Leaders Council, which engages senior leaders from industry, academia, government, and non-governmental organizations to identify tactical actions for ASCE and the civil engineering profession. ASCE is currently pursuing the ASCE Grand Challenge, which asks all civil engineers to significantly enhance the performance and value of infrastructure projects over their life cycles by 2025 and foster the optimization of infrastructure investments for society. In pursuit of realizing the ASCE Grand Challenge, ASCE awarded Frangopol a project to develop the Baseline Documentation of the Use of Life Cycle Cost Analysis and Performance Based Design in Civil Infrastructure Sectors.

In October, Frangopol received the 2019 State-of-the Art of Civil Engineering Award at the 2019 ASCE Convention. Two alumni of Lehigh’s CEE department also received awards at the convention. Stephen J. Ressler ’89G ’91 PhD received the 2019 ASCE Presidents’ Award recognizing his “34 years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, extensive engagement in engineering education at the U.S. Military Academy and Lehigh University, and [his service as] principal instructor for ASCE's ExCEEd Teaching Workshop." Matthew (Matt) G. Cummings '86 received the 2019 John I. Parcel-Leif J. Sverdrup Civil Engineering Management Award.

Dr. Briaud’s visit is part of a tradition that Lehigh’s CEE Department and the ASCE Lehigh Valley Section have established over the last several years to coordinate the visit of each new ASCE President-Elect to the Lehigh Valley. Diplas notes that these visits are a “great opportunity for the President-Elect to get to know more about the CEE department at Lehigh, for our students to interact with ASCE national leaders, and for our program to receive more visibility.” The Lehigh student chapter is one of 302 ASCE student chapters and the ASCE Lehigh Valley Section is one of 76 sections across the U.S.

  • Dr. Briaud with Lehigh ASCE Student Chapter officers and Lehigh Valley Section members Dave Wieller and Greg Kuklinski in Fritz Laboratory.
  • Dr. Briaud tours the Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems (ATLSS) Engineering Research Center.
  • I-CPIE Director Richard Sause, left, and ATLSS IT Manager Peter Bryan, right, discuss hybrid simulation capabilities with Dr. Briaud on a tour of ATLSS.