Meeting local needs for training, technical assistance, and research in transportation

Conference Speakers & Bios








Bo Dowswell, P.E., Ph.D.

Bo Dowswell has been in the steel industry since 1985—the first nine years as a steel detailer.  For ten years, he was principal and co-founder of an engineering firm specializing in steel connection design and design of industrial structures.  For several years at Southern Company, he designed heavy industrial structures for power plants.  Recently, Bo worked in the Engineering and Research Department at AISC, where he was responsible for technical aspects of Manuals, Design Guides, and the Engineering Journal in addition to his involvement on various technical committees.
He received a Ph.D. in structural engineering for his research on steel gusset plates, and is an adjunct professor at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he teaches steel-related courses and has been involved in several research projects.  Dr.  Dowswell is a professional engineer in Alabama and many other states.  He has published several journal articles and made many presentations on steel connection design and beam stability.  He is also a member of the AISC Committee on Manuals and and the AISC Committee on Industrial Buildings and Non-Building Structures.

Higgins Lecture- Gusset Plates: The Evolution of Simplified design Model

In the design of steel structures, each member is isolated and evaluated using the appropriate AISC Specification requirements. Similarly, gusset plate connections can be complex structural systems that are separated into several elements for design purposes. The behavior of these gusset plate elements can be captured with simple design models, where portions of the plate are treated as structural members with well-documented and predictable behavior. This presentation will provide
a brief history of gusset plate design methods and discuss their evolution over the last century. Current design provisions will be discussed, where column and beam models are used to predict the strength of gusset plates in various configurations, including wrap-around gusset plates.

Learning Objectives
1. Participants will gain a historical perspective on gusset plate design
2. Participants will learn about current design methods for gusset plates in various configurations.
3. Participants will learn about recent research and new design methods for gusset plates.


Yang Jiang, Ph.D, PE, SE, Principal Engineer - Bridges and Tunnels, HNTB

Yang is a Principal Engineer with HNTB Corporation in Bellevue, Washington.  Yang has more than 28 years of experience on a wide variety of bridge and underground projects.  Yang has led and performed design, analysis, review, and independent check for many structures, including signature brides such as the New Tacoma Narrow Suspension Bridge, Gerald Desmond Cable-Stayed Bridge, South Park Bascule Bridge, and the Sixth Street Arch Bridge. Yang has also built considerable experience in underground transportation structures from Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Design-Build Project to the iconic Istanbul Strait Road Tunnel Crossing in Istanbul. Yang is the Engineer of Record and lead designer for the SR 99 Bored Tunnel in Seattle - one of the world’s largest TBM bored tunnel in the world. Yang is currently leading the structural effort for the West Seattle and Ballard Extension Project for Sound Transit in Seattle.  The project includes miles of transit tunnels and viaduct structures, six underground stations, seven elevated stations, two major bridge/tunnel water crossings, and one above-ground station.

Gerard Desmond Bridge Replacement

Robert Accetta, Civil Engineer, National Transporation Safety Board of Highway Safety

Mr. Accetta has over 28 years of experience with the NTSB and was the Investigator-In-Charge for the Miami Florida International University (FIU) pedestrian bridge collapse investigation.  As an IIC/Supervisor for the past 14 years, Mr. Accetta has led investigative teams in over 25 major crash investigations involving: railroad grade crossings, marine vessels, passenger vehicles, motorcoaches, commercial vehicles, tunnels, and bridge structures.

Steven Prouty, P.E., Senior Bridge Engineer, National Transportation Safety Board of Highway Safety

Mr. Prouty has over 10 years of experience with the NTSB and was a Senior Bridge Engineer assigned to investigate the Miami Florida International University (FIU) pedestrian bridge collapse investigation.  As an investigator with the NTSB, Mr. Prouty has been involved in over 35 major crash investigations involving: marine vessels, railroad grade crossings, automobiles, motorcoaches, commercial vehicles, tunnels, and bridge structures.

Daniel Walsh, P.E., Senior Bridge Engineer, National Transprotation Safety Board of Highway Safety

Mr. Walsh has over 18 years of experience with the NTSB and was a Senior Bridge Engineer assigned to investigate the Miami Florida International University (FIU) pedestrian bridge collapse investigation.  As an investigator with the NTSB, Mr. Walsh has been involved in over 35 major crash investigations involving: marine vessels, railroad grade crossings, automobiles, motorcoaches, commercial vehicles, tunnels, and bridge structures.


FIU Bridge Collapse Investigation

The NTSB presentation focuses on the investigation into an incident that occurred on March 15, 2018 when a partially constructed pedestrian bridge crossing an eight-lane roadway in the city of Miami, Florida, experienced a catastrophic structural failure in the nodal connection between truss members 11 and 12 and the bridge deck. The 174-foot-long bridge span fell about 18.5 feet onto SW 8th Street. Two of the westbound lanes below the north end of the bridge were closed to traffic at the time of the collapse; however, one westbound lane and all five eastbound lanes were open.  On the day of the collapse, a construction crew was working to retension the post-tensioning rods within member 11, connecting the bridge canopy and the deck at the north end of the structure. Eight vehicles that were located below the bridge were fully or partially crushed, seven of which were occupied. One bridge worker and five vehicle occupants died. Five bridge workers and five other people were injured.  The presentation will provide a general overview of the investigation, as well as detailed findings related to the safety issue areas that were identified.


Matt Ross, Project Engineer, Thorton Tomasetti

Matt Ross is a Project Engineer for Thornton Tomasetti’s Kansas City Office. His 6 years with TT includes experience working with both Structural and Connection Engineering on structures ranging from Sports Arenas, Airports, High Rises, and Higher Education Academic Buildings. Most recent projects include Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, WA and UBS Arena in Elmont, NY. He received both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Kansas. 

Raymond Chou, Project Engineer, Thorton Tomasetti

Raymond Chou is a Project Engineer in Thornton Tomasetti’s Kansas City office. He brings 7 years of experience in structural analysis and design of complex sports facilities featuring long-span roof, complex seating bowl framing and challenging renovations. Most recent projects include Wrigley Field Renovation in Chicago, IL and Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, WA. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Purdue University and is a registered structural professional engineer in Nebraska.

The Transformation of Key Arena

The historic Key Arena is undergoing a major transformation as it becomes home to the NHL’s newest franchise, the Seattle Kraken. Slated for completion in late 2021, the extensive renovation and expansion will result in Climate Pledge Arena, a new 800,000-square-foot, below-grade venue that will hold more than 17,000 fans for hockey, basketball, concerts and other events, along with a new parking garage. This presentation describes the overall project scope with a more in depth look at the challenges of constructing a new arena like a “ship in a bottle” below an existing roof.

Matthew Fadden, Ph.D., P.E., Senior Associate, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

Matthew Fadden joined WJE with ten years of experience in structural engineering research and consulting. His primary areas of expertise include the design, analysis, and evaluation of steel structures (hot-rolled and cold-formed) and reinforced concrete structures. Additionally, Dr. Fadden has expertise in structural evaluation using finite element modeling and structural testing. His experience also includes seismic design, structural vibrations, offshore structures, and litigation support.

Prior to joining WJE, Dr. Fadden was a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering at the University of Kansas. There, his research areas included modular systems and connections for steel buildings, bolted and welded connections, ancillary sign structures, structural vibrations, and additive manufacturing for civil infrastructure. Dr. Fadden has authored many technical publications in refereed journals and given numerous conference presentations.

Investigative Engineering: Answering Questions about the Built World

Investigative Engineering is a broad field that answers questions for a stakeholder regarding previously engineered structures and components. Considering several case studies, learn the techniques Investigative Engineers employ, including first principles mechanics, modeling, and structural and material testing to answer these, often challenging, questions.

Joe DiPompeo, P.E., SECB, F.SEI, F.ASCE President, Structural Workshop, LLC

Joe received a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Civil Engineering, with a specialization in Construction Management and a Master of Engineering degree in Structural Engineering, both from Stevens Institute of Technology. Joe is a Licensed Professional Engineer in NJ, NY, CT, PA, FL, CO, MD, LA, OR, WI, AZ, IA, OK, IN, MA, VA, KY, WV, MN, DE, NE, NC, WA, ID, TX, AK, SC, and OH and is certified by the Structural Engineering Certification Board.  Joe is a member of ASCE, ACI, AISC and SEI. Joe is a Fellow of the Structural Engineering Institute of the ASCE and a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and is past Chair of the SEI Business Practices Committee and Business and Professional Activities Division.  Joe is a member of the SEI Board of Governors, as well as the current SEI President. 
In addition to his professional activities, Joe also served as President to the Stevens Institute of Technology Alumni Association and is currently on the Board of Trustees of Stevens Institute of Technology. He also served five years on the Board of Governors of the Mountain Lakes Club and Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Lakeland Hills Family YMCA, as well as the current chair of the Mountain Lakes Economic Development Committee.
Joe serves as President of Structural Workshop, LLC, which was founded in February of 2004.  Structural Workshop, LLC provides a variety of engineering services, including structural analysis, inspection and design of commercial, residential, retail, industrial, foundation and earth retaining structures, forensic engineering, commercial building inspections, due diligence inspections, building consulting services, project and facilities management services. Joe has extensive experience in all aspects of engineering, analysis, inspection and design of a large variety of types of structures and materials. His interests include forensic engineering, unique solutions to unique and difficult structural problems, innovation in the business of engineering, teaching and writing and making structural engineering understandable and accessible to the general public.

Lessons Learned: Operating a Design Office Remotely in COVID-19 Times


Marc Maguire, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Marc Maguire is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, formerly of Utah State University. He received his BS and MS from the University of Nebraska and PhD from Virginia Tech. He has authored 50 journal articles and received over $3 million in funding since 2013. Dr. Maguire is an expert in the design and analysis of insulated wall panels and is directly involved in developing the forthcoming PCI Design Standard on Insulated Walls and TCA guidance on partial composite action for tilt-up walls.

Behavior and Design of Composite Concrete Insulated Walls