Message from the Chair

The University of Maryland Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) celebrated many great achievements over the past year.

 

In early 2016, our National Transportation Center (NTC@Maryland) hosted U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx for the NTC-led Transportation Innovation and Policy Summit. In front of a packed house at UMD’s Stamp Student Union, Secretary Foxx drove home key messages relating to “Innovating Multimodal Solutions for Reducing Congestion.” Throughout the year, NTC@Maryland researchers also joined forces with our Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory (CATT Lab) to analyze how the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail SafeTrack work plan has impacted both public transportation riders and drivers across the region. Their efforts helped area commuters chart alternative routes and earned NTC@Maryland and the CATT Lab both local and national recognition.

 

Additionally, NTC@Maryland spearheaded efforts to track multi-modal travel trends in partnership with researchers from George Mason University, the University of Washington, and the University of Arkansas. Their initiative, backed by funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, involves tapping into public domain data sources to estimate monthly multimodal rates and frequencies for all metropolitan areas across the United States.

 

Beyond the scope of transportation, CEE research has benefited local and national regions in countless other ways. Drs. Sandra Knight and Gerry Galloway of our Center for Disaster Resilience mobilized a force of local political leaders and representatives of various federal agencies to address imminent flood risks in the nation’s capital. On Sept. 13, 2016, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton proudly spoke at a CDR-led briefing on Capitol Hill about the importance of such efforts to educate policymakers on the potential spillover effects of flooding from the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, as well as storm water flooding across the city.

 

On the home front, we have further cause to celebrate. Our American Society of Civil Engineers’ chapter hosted a tremendous Suit Up & Be Civil event, which featured keynote speaker Allyn Kilsheimer, leader of the design and construction team responsible for rebuilding the Pentagon in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. UMD ASCE also earned its second-consecutive first-place finish at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Concrete Canoe Competitions, while demonstrating outside-the-box creativity with this year’s “Whiskey River” themed canoe.

 

Every day, we are proud to see examples of how members of our CEE community work together to better the wider world around us. CEE alumnus Peter Emmons (B.S. ’73) echoed this sense of pride during our recent Kirlin Distinguished Lecture as he enthusiastically told students: “Find a world need that fits you and bring value to the world and yourself!”

 

As civil engineers, we are uniquely positioned to do just that – and our examples touch so many aspects of life both here and abroad. Our Engineers Without Borders students and faculty devote time and energy to supporting a variety of causes in areas such as Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Peru. Meanwhile, in our own backyard, CEE students and alumni – like Maya Lieber (B.S. ’16) – are working to support close-to-home construction projects including the university’s A. James Clark Hall, and CEE’s own infrastructure laboratory renovation initiative.

 

It is this dedication to both the field of engineering and the wider world that makes our department unique and ensures our engineers will continue to impact lives for generations to come. I thank you for your continued support and shared enthusiasm for our department, and welcome you to visit as we prepare to break ground on our new laboratory.

 

 

Charles W. Schwartz, Ph.D., Professor and Chair
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
A. James Clark School of Engineering