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Steel Bridge Task Force Announces Collins as Recipient of 2022 Robert J. Dexter Memorial Award Lecture

William Collins
William Collins
LAWRENCE, KS — The Steel Bridge Task Force of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA), and the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) T-14 Technical Committee for Structural Steel Design have selected William Collins, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering at the University of Kansas School of Engineering, as the recipient of the 2022 Robert J. Dexter Memorial Award Lecture.

The program was instituted in 2005 in memory of Robert J. Dexter, an Associate Professor of civil engineering at the University of Minnesota, who was an internationally recognized expert on steel fracture and fatigue problems in bridges.

The Robert J. Dexter Memorial Award Lecture program provides an opportunity for individuals early in their careers in structural engineering to present a lecture on their steel bridge research activities to the Steel Bridge Task Force and to participate in its semiannual three-day meeting. Recipients become invited guests of the Steel Bridge Task Force, which is comprised of leading steel bridge experts.

Collins will present a lecture on his research findings at the next meeting of the Steel Bridge Task Force on August 11, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“Dr. Collins is a rising star in the fracture and fatigue performance of steel structures,” said Robert Wills, P.E., Vice President of the construction group at AISI. “Among his early achievements is the introduction of the master curve concept and its use in the bridge industry. He is conducting important work in exploiting the toughness of High-Performance Steel grades and in the area of Heat-Affected Zone toughness and galvanizing. His work has the potential to significantly change how the bridge industry accomplishes fracture control. We look forward to the contributions that he will make to advancing steel bridge design in the years to come.”   

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Collins earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) with an emphasis in structural engineering and materials. Before joining the faculty of the University of Kansas, he was a Research Engineer at Purdue University and a Research/Teaching Assistant at Virginia Tech. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Kansas.

At the University of Kansas, Collins is leading multiple research projects, including the NCHRP 10-95A, “Toughness Requirements for Heat-Affected Zones of Welded Structural Steels for Highway Bridges.” He actively serves on the Transportation Research Board Committee on Steel Bridges and Committee on Fabrication and Inspection of Metal Structures; the ASTM International Committee E08 on Fatigue and Fracture and Committee E28 on Mechanical Testing; and the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA) Fracture Critical Task Group and NSBA/AASHTO Steel Bridge Collaboration group.

He was named Outstanding Young Alumni, Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech in 2020. He has received several awards and honors. He has published numerous technical documents.

Previous recipients of the Robert J. Dexter Memorial Award Lecture include:

  • Matthew Yarnold, Ph.D., P.E., Texas A&M University (2021)
  • Matthew H. Hebdon, Ph.D., P.E., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (2019)
  • Hussam Mahmoud, Ph.D., Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado (2014)
  • Caroline R. Bennett, Ph.D., P.E., University of Kansas in Lawrence (2013)
  • Hassan H. Abbas, Ph.D., Auburn University (2012)
  • Justin Ocel, Ph.D., P.E., Federal Highway Administration (2010)
  • Emmett A. Sumner III, Ph.D., North Carolina State University in Raleigh (2009)
  • Jennifer Righman McConnell, Ph.D., University of Delaware (2007)
  • Reagan Herman, Ph.D., University of Houston (2006)
  • Robert J. Connor, Ph.D., P.E., Purdue University (2005)

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