MCEER Appoints Higgins to Transportation Post

Buffalo, NY....The Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) has named Michael S. Higgins, P.E., Senior Program Officer for Transportation Research. Higgins will coordinate the center's Highway Project, which is sponsored primarily by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Higgins joins MCEER from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Civil Engineering Research Foundation (CERF), in Washington, D.C., where he served as project manager for the Highway Innovative Technology Evaluation Center (HITEC) managing expert panel reviews and independent product evaluations of innovative technologies for the U.S. bridge and highway industry. He was named CERF's "Employee of the Year" in 1998.

Prior to joining CERF, Higgins served as a project manager and engineer at Watts Engineers, Buffalo, N.Y., where he developed plans, specifications, and designs for New York State Department of Transportation bridge and highway projects. In 1996, he was named "Young Engineer of the Year" by the Erie/Niagara Section of New York State Society of Professional Engineers. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the Chi Epsilon civil engineering honor society, and a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo.

MCEER's Highway Project seeks to improve the seismic performance and reliability of the nation's highway system. Initiated in 1992 with contracts from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the project uniquely examines earthquake impacts on the highway system as an integrated network, rather than as a collection of individual roads, bridges, and embankments.

Goals are to improve understanding of seismic hazards and improve and develop analysis methods, screening procedures and tools, retrofit technologies, design criteria, and methods to reduce the vulnerability of existing and future infrastructure. The project involves more than 40 investigators from over 20 institutions throughout the United States. George C. Lee, Ph.D., serves as project director. Ian G. Buckle, Ph.D., of the University of Nevada, Reno, is project technical director.

MCEER is a nationwide consortium on earthquake engineering research, headquartered at the University at Buffalo. Funded principally by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the State of New York, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the center was established by NSF in 1986 as the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. The center's mission is to reduce earthquake damage and losses through multidisciplinary team research and the application of advanced technologies that improve engineering, and pre-earthquake planned and postearthquake recovery strategies.