CE Faculty in the News

May 11, 2021

Dr. Nigel Kaye
Clemson Civil Engineering Host the 6th AAWE Workshop

The 6th American Association for Wind Engineering (AAWE) workshop was hosted online by the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering from May 12-14. The workshop was organized and chaired by Professor Nigel Berkeley Kaye and was held to fill a gap created by the COVID-19 induced postponement of the Americas Conference for Wind Engineering that is now scheduled for May 17-19, 2021 in Lubbock, Texas. The goal of the workshop was to give research students an opportunity to share their wind engineering research work with the wider wind engineering community.

Interest in the workshop was very positive. We received 82 abstracts from 28 different institutions across North America. The abstracts span a broad range of wind engineering topics and are a very positive sign for the future of wind engineering research.

As well as the submitted papers, we also had three excellent keynote speakers. Clemson Alumnus Dr. Anne Cope of the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) led off the workshop with a talk about the impact of full-scale testing at the IBHS Research Center and critical needs in wind research for homes & businesses. The second day began with Dr. Tracy Kijewski-Correa (Notre Dame) giving a talk on the role of wind engineers in advancing climate-responsive and risk-informed sustainable development. The final keynote was by Dr. Pedro Fernandez-Caban (Clarkson) on enhancing the wind performance of civil infrastructure through “Online” Cyber-Physical Wind Tunnel Simulation.

We also hosted Dr. Joy Pauschke (National Science Foundation program director) to talk about funding options for wind engineering. The days ended with social times and the opportunity to learn more about the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure facilities. Wednesday’s event covered the experimental facilities at the University of Florida and Florida International University.  The Thursday event allowed participants to learn about DesignSafe Cyber Infrastructure. The Workshop closed on the Friday with the quadrennial AAWE Awards ceremony organized by Clemson Professor Weichiang Pang, chair of the AAWE Awards Committee.

For more information visit the workshop website (


Dr. Jesus M. de la Garza

Jesus M. de la Garza, Media Appearances and Interviews: 

“Clemson Researchers Link ‘Risk Compensation Theory’ with Construction Workplace Safety,” Upstate Business Journal. (May 2021). P.25;

“Construction Workers Take More Risks When They Feel Safe—and Still Get Hurt,” Popular Mechanics. (April 26, 2021).

“Safety Study Suggests Roofers Will Boost Risk-Taking With More Protection in Place,” Engineering News-Record. (April 13, 2021).

“How ‘Risk Compensation’ Jeopardizes Worker Safety,” Washington Newsline. (February 19, 2021).

Research team finds workers take more risks when they receive more training and safety equipment,” upstatebizSC. (February 2, 2021).

Dr. Ronnie Chowdhury

The Center for Connected Multimodal Mobility (C2M2) would like to congratulate our Center Director, Dr. Mashrur “Ronnie” Chowdhury on his co-authored papers receiving the 2015 and 2017 IEEE ITS Society George N. Saridis Best Transactions Paper Award for Outstanding Survey. These awards are only given out every few years and submitted papers must pass a rigorous selection process that evaluates Google scholar citations for three years after publication and selection by an award review committee. In the award announcement, the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society had the following to say about this award.  Read more

Dr. Kalyan Piratla

NASTT’S Trenchless Today Magazine

Amid the past couple months of lockdown and quarantine, we thought it would be a good idea to check in with Dr. Kalyan Piratla, Liles Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at Clemson University and this year’s recipient of the NASTT Ralston Award for Young Trenchless Achievement. We chatted with Dr. Piratla about his start in the industry and the state of trenchless education.

Q&A Questions
What first piqued your interest in the
construction/engineering field?
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be an engineer who graduated from one of the top tier colleges in India – the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). After high school, I was able to
get an admission from IIT Madras and civil engineering just happened to be a feasible choice of discipline for me. It was not until the final years of my college education that I gained tremendous
interest in construction project management. I enjoyed learning different aspects of it and decided to pursue further studies in construction management in the United States.

Tell us about your first introduction to the
trenchless technology?
It happened at Arizona State University (ASU) where I had first enrolled in the construction management Master’s program in 2008. At ASU, I took the Trenchless Technology class
taught by Dr. Sam Ariaratnam which offered an excellent introduction to a wide variety of trenchless construction methods employed for new installation and rehabilitation projects. I was
also recruited as a graduate research assistant to work on a research project focused on estimating pull loads on HDD projects. I ended up doing more research with Dr. Sam on a variety of projects and graduated with my Ph.D. in 2012.

What is the biggest challenge facing the
trenchless industry today?
Arguably, one of the biggest challenges continues to be the lag in educational and outreach impact compared to the rapid technological developments in our industry. I feel many owners, especially municipal water and sewer utilities, are still unaware or unconvinced of the benefits offered by trenchless technologies, and as a result, are reluctant to employ them. Understandably, these utility owners are risk-averse. There should be more targeted efforts from our industry to educate such utility owners and build their confidence in trenchless methods. Another important challenge is future workforce development. NASTT has been addressing these challenges through their student
chapter engagement and municipal scholarship awards, and I commend NASTT for such efforts.

How did you first get involved with NASTT?
I first got involved with NASTT as a student chapter member when I was a graduate student at ASU. My first No-Dig Show was Toronto in 2009 and I still remember that to be an amazingly
welcoming experience to the trenchless industry. I have attended nine more No-Dig Shows since then. After joining Clemson University as a civil engineering professor, I established the Clemson student chapter in 2013 and have since served as its faculty adviser. I have also served as the a committee member, track leader and session moderator for multiple No-Dig Shows and have presented multiple papers along with my graduate students at No-Dig.

What are the challenges on the academic side?
Is the industry doing a good job of promoting the benefits of trenchless methods? Although it is promising to see that the number of student chapters affiliated with NASTT is growing, it is important to understand that there is not a lot of scope to include trenchless related courses in undergraduate curriculums that are typically already packed. As a result, the only trenchless exposure many students may be getting is through guest lectures and conference visits which may be limited in comparison to the exposure the students are getting to other areas of civil engineering and construction management.

How did it feel to receive the NASTT
Ralston Award for Young Trenchless
Achievement this year?
I feel honored to have been selected for this prestigious award. I would first like to thank NASTT for this recognition. I would also like to thank my nominator, Dr. Sam Ariaratnam, and Dr. Jason Lueke who supported the nomination. After hearing about my selection for this award, I felt more encouraged to contribute towards the mission of NASTT.

What do you enjoy most about working in the
trenchless technology field?
I feel there is a sense of togetherness in the trenchless industry that promotes the welfare of the industry through non-commercial and unbiased information sharing. I enjoy being both a contributor and a beneficiary of such knowledge. As an academic, I also enjoy working with students both in educational
and research efforts focused on trenchless technologies. At Clemson, we have enjoyed strong local support from the trenchless industry over the years. Many industry professionals have given guest seminars and facilitated industry/jobsite visits that have been immensely beneficial.