In episode 05 of The Structural Engineering Channel podcast, we talk with Dr. Therese McAllister, P.E., F.SEI, M.ASCE who is the community resilience group leader and program manager in the materials and structural systems research division of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). We speak with Dr. McAllister about what the NIST Community Resilience Program is and why community resilience is so important in structural engineering and beyond.
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Our Guest in This Episode:
- What does NIST do?
- How does the community resilience program fit into NIST’s mission?
- What is community resilience?
- Who is addressing resilience in structural design now?
- Why is community resilience important to structural engineers?
- How does performance-based design intersect with community resilience?
- How can community resilience be implemented by structural engineers?
- What is the most exciting thing right now in the structural engineering industry to you?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Community Resilience in Structural Engineering:
- NIST’s mission is to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness for our country. They do that by advancing measurement, science and technology.
- An important aspect to understand is that NIST is a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. Unlike some of the other federal agencies, NIST does not have regulatory authority and is therefore allowed to collaborate with industries which allows them to work closely with practitioners.
- Community resilience is an emerging area. There is a lot of interests in it and people are recognizing the need for it, but there’s not a lot of tools and metrics out there to guide community resilience. NIST has invested interest in addressing the need for metrics and models.
- Resilience is the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions as well as to withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions.
- Community resilience doesn’t look at individual buildings or systems. It looks at them as an integrated system and that is why they should all function together.
- Retrofit is an important issue, given the range of building and infrastructure conditions that will always exist in communities.
- Community resilience is providing another layer of opportunity for structural engineers to open up their design practice beyond only providing commodity engineering.
- One of the things that NIST is trying to characterize is the long-term benefits of a building; to make it a facility that will remain open and functional and much more cost-effective than one that needs a lot of repairs done to it after disasters.
- Becoming too narrowly focused could potentially become a challenge in structural engineering. It’s important to thus always have a “T-Shaped model”, which is to have proficient skills in structural engineering but to also have adequate breath in other areas that touch on structural engineering.
More Details in This Episode…
In today’s Elastic Modulus segment, Dr. Therese McAllister talks about a challenging time when she decided to change direction in her career.
About Dr. Therese McAllister
Dr. Therese McAllister is the Community Resilience Group Leader and Program Manager in the Materials and Structural Systems Research Division of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). She is the Federal Program Officer for the NIST funded Center of Excellence, Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning led by Colorado State University.
She serves on standards and technical committees of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the International Code Council (ICC). Dr. McAllister is a registered professional engineer in Maryland and an ASCE Structural Engineering Institute Fellow. She also currently conducts research on community resilience, with a focus on the integrated performance of physical infrastructure systems and interdependencies with social and economic systems. She has expertise in structural reliability, risk assessment, and failure analysis of buildings and infrastructure systems. Dr. McAllister also conducted detailed studies of the WTC disaster, Hurricane Katrina flooding in New Orleans, and Hurricane Sandy flood effects on infrastructure systems. Prior to joining NIST, she conducted forensic studies of structural failures.
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National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Therese McAllister’s LinkedIn Account
The Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of ASCE
SEI Structures Congress 2020
Structural Engineering Life
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To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP & Matthew Picardal P.E.
Hosts of The Structural Engineering Podcast