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In Memoriam: Robert Ratay, PhD, P.E., F. ASCE

We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend Robert Ratay, who passed away on 3 January 2020.  A long-time supporter of CROSS, Bob was an enthusiastic and dedicated member of the CROSS-US Expert Panel.

Bob was a giant in the structural and forensic engineering community. He was a structural engineer in private practice and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University in New York. His practice and teaching focused on the investigation and analysis of structural and construction failures. His four decades of professional experience in structural engineering were divided equally between full-time design practice and combined teaching and consulting. He was a consultant to architects, engineering firms, contractors, corporate clients, law offices, insurance companies, and government agencies. He was lead expert in over 200 structural failure investigations.

Bob served on and chaired several national and international technical committees concerned with structural performance, building science, construction methods and safety, design codes and standards. He served on the SEI Board of Governors. He was a Fellow of IABSE and chaired its Working Group on Forensic Structural Engineering. He was a member of the Editorial Advisory Panel of the Forensic Engineering Journal of the Institution of Civil Engineers, UK (ICE).

Designated Persons


Glenn Bell

Email: glenn@cross-us.org

PE, SE, CEng (UK), F.SEI, F.ASCE, FIStructE

Glenn recently retired from Simpson Gumpertz & Heger. He was SGH’s CEO from 1995 through 2016 and its Board Chair from 2016 through 2018.  Glenn is an expert in design, investigation, and rehabilitation of buildings, building envelopes, and other structural types.  He has a career-long passion for learning from failures.  He was Co-Founder of the ASCE Technical Council on Forensic Engineering (now the ASCE Forensic Engineering Division). Glenn is SEI President, a Board Member of the Charles Pankow Foundation, and Visting Scholar, University of Bath, UK.


Andrew Herrmann

Email: andy@cross-us.org

PE, SECB, Pres. 12 ASCE, F.SEI

Andrew is Partner Emeritus, Hardesty & Hanover Consulting Engineers.  He was Partner-In-Charge or Project Manager for many of Hardesty & Hanover’s major bridge projects. Throughout his 40 plus year career, he has been responsible for bridge studies, major bridge rehabilitations, emergency services, biennial and in-depth bridge inspections, preliminary to final design on new fixed and movable bridges, and construction inspection. His expertise on the subject of movable bridges allows him to manage and coordinate the structural-mechanical-electrical designs of various types of swing, vertical-lift, and bascule bridges.  Andy was President of ASCE in 2012 and President of SEI in 2017.




Glenn Bell, ExCom Chair

See profile above.


Andrew Herrmann

See profile above.


Judith Mitrani-Reiser


Judy is the Director NIST’s Disaster and Failure Studies (DFS) Program, where she leads a multidisciplinary staff responsible for conducting fact-finding investigations focused on: building and infrastructure failures; successful building and infrastructure performance; evacuation and emergency response systems; and disaster recovery and community resilience.  Before coming to NIST, Judy was on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University where she conducted research focused on the seismic safety of healthcare facilities, performance-based design, resilient-based design, community resilience, structured tool development for field reconnaissance, safety and economic impacts of hazards on the built environment, the effective communication of these risks to the public, informed decision making for use in emergency management and policy making, and the interaction of humans with the built environment.  Judy a Director of EERI and co-founded SEI’s Committee on Multi-Hazard Mitigation.


John Tawresey


John is retired CFO, KPFF Consulting Engineers. He has more than 40 years’ experience as a structural engineer with concentration in the design of reinforced hollow brick masonry structures and building curtain walls including glass, aluminum, and stone. He was instrumental in the conceptualization and formation of The Masonry Society (TMS) and held many positions in the organization including president and editor of the Masonry Society Journal. He is also past president of the Structural Engineers Risk Management Council (SERMC), Past President of SEI, a member of the ASCE 7 Main Committee and Masonry Standard Main Committee, the ASCE/SEI National Technical Program Committee, and the SEI Futures Fund Board.


Laura Champion


Laura is Director of the Structural Engineering Institute, ASCE.  She has over 25 years’ experience in the Architectural/Engineering/Construction industry with expertise in structural engineering consulting and design. Her expertise includes private and public educational, institutional, museum, religious, recreational, and residential projects; including historic preservation, existing condition assessments, investigations, structural code upgrades, flood zone design, new buildings, additions, renovations, public and private project peer reviews, and Special Inspection.


James Rossberg


Jim is Managing Director, Engineering Programs, ASCE. Prior to joining ASCE, Jim was Project Manager of the Civil Engineering Research Foundation, Executive Director of The Masonry Institute, a Vice President of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, and a Project Engineer for Rummel, Klepper & Kahl.


Alastair Soane, ExCom Advisor

PhD, CEng(UK), FICE,  FIStructE

Alastair is the Director of Structural-Safety. Former CEO of Bingham Cotterell consulting engineers with extensive experience on UK and International projects. Former member of Building Regulations Advisory Committee for England and Chair of the Structures Working Party, member of the Advisory Group on Temporary Structures. Lewis Kent award winner from IStructE in 2012, author of numerous publications and visiting professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Liverpool. Past president of the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers. Alastair was awarded the 2018 IStructE President's Award.




Glenn Bell, Director

See profile above.


Andrew Herrmann, Director

See profile above.


Stan Caldwell


Stan has over 45 years-experience in structural design first in the oil and gas sector and then in general building engineering.  He has held leadership positions in several structural firms.  Currently Stan is engaged as a sole consultant where his primary activity is in investigation of structural distress and failure, for which he is a highly sought-after expert.  He regularly publishes articles on failure issues.

Stan has a long, distinguished career in service to the profession.  He served on ASCE Board of Directors, the SEI Board of Governors, the board of the SELC, and the board of the SECB.  For his service to the profession Stan received the SEI President’s Award and the SEI W. Gene Corley Award.


John Duntemann


John is a Senior Principal at Wiss Janney Elstner Associates, where he specializes in the assessment of structural distress and serviceability problems in buildings, bridges, and other structures. He has analyzed numerous conventional structures as well as several unique building systems, addressing general code conformance and related topics such as deflection, cracking, vibration, and lateral stability. Mr. Duntemann also performs a variety of consulting activities related to new and existing construction.

John is a contributing author to the Handbook of Temporary Structures in Construction (1996, 2012) and the Forensic Structural Engineering Handbook (2000, 2010). He currently serves on the board of the Structural Engineering Association of Illinois and served on the Illinois State Task Force on School Plan Review and Inspection. He was also a member of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying Structural Exam Committee (2004–2010).


Craig Durgarian


Craig is an Assistant Vice President with Zurich North America – Insurance and Risk Management.  He has over 30 years of experience in design, construction management and insurance risk management of multiple general building projects in North America.  In his current role as a Principal Risk Engineer, Craig provides technical guidance and recommendations as a subject matter expert to customers and business partners in support of Zurich’s construction professional liability book of business.  He assists in new/existing customer underwriting assessments, as well as the resolution of complex customer claims.

Craig is currently an Associate Member of the ASCE 7-22 committee, and also leads an industry task force within the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Erectors Committee in authoring a technical white paper on the problems and associated risks with improper structural grouting of precast concrete load bearing elements.


Dan Eschenasy


Dan is the Chief Structural Engineer of the New York City Department of Buildings. In this capacity he organized its Forensic Engineering unit and was involved in numerous investigations of building and retaining wall collapses.  Some of his findings and statistics related to construction accidents (excavation, demolition, underpinning, cranes) were published and provided the basis for improvements to the NYC Building Code.  His prior experience includes   design of high-rise office buildings and of installations for petrochemical and nuclear plants.  Dan is a Director of the Structural Engineering Certification Board and a member of several ASCE standard committees including Structural Design for Fire Conditions, Design Loads on Structures during Construction and Structural Condition Assessment of Buildings.


Eric Herbert


Eric is a Structural Bridge Engineer at Kiewit Infrastructure Engineers, where he has designed and analyzed bridges of varying complexity and size across the country for both preliminary and final designs. As his design experience is rooted in the design-build delivery method, he has an enhanced perspective on constructability considerations and concerns during the design process.

Eric has also served in leadership roles in SEI Colorado, is a member of the SEI Young Professionals Committee, and co-authored the bridges chapter of the 2020 ASCE Colorado Infrastructure Report Card.


Tara Hoke, Legal Advisor

Aff.M. ASCE, Esq.

Tara is General Counsel of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a member of the Virginia bar. Her responsibilities for ASCE include legal consultation in the areas of employment, tax, corporate, contract, mergers and acquisitions, antitrust, intellectual property, real estate, and construction law.


Judith Mitrani-Reiser

See profile above.


Paul Mlakar


Dr. Paul Mlakar recently retired after 40 years of service to U. S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After beginning his ERDC career as a research engineer investigating the mechanics of structural elements and going on to service in various leadership roles, Mlakar's career culminated with his appointment as the Army's senior research scientist for weapons effects and structural dynamics, a position he held from 2003-2015. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Mlakar also served as the Class of 1953 Distinguished Chair in Civil Engineering for the storied organization from 2010-2014; he facilitated countless interactions between ERDC and West Point and an official Educational Partnership Agreement between the two was recently signed.

Paul is notable for his work on investigation of a number of disasters, including the 9-11 attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing and the failure of the levees in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.


Sam Muir


Samuel J. Muir is a trial attorney in the firm’s Oakland and South Pasadena offices. He practices primarily in the area of construction litigation with an emphasis on the representation of design professionals. It was 30 years ago when he was first attracted to helping design professionals because of their tremendous creativity, substantial benefit to society, and commitment to their clients. This initial interest has led him through jury trials, bench trials, binding arbitrations and mediations that are too numerous to count. As lead trial counsel and appellate attorney for the design professional in the landmark decision of Markborough California, Inc. v. Superior Court (1991) 227 Cal.App.3d 705, Mr. Muir argued successfully to uphold the law authorizing limitation of liability clauses in construction contracts.

Mr. Muir enjoys giving back to both his professional and personal communities in many ways. On the professional side, he is a frequent speaker to architectural associations such as the local chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). He continues to speak at meetings of numerous engineering associations such as American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), Structural Engineering Institute (SEI), and the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC California).


Kevin Parfitt


Kevin is Professor of Architectural Engineering at Penn State University, where he has been on the faculty for over 37 years and served as AE Department Interim Head for 2 years. His areas of expertise include building performance and evaluation, building damage assessment, building collapse, architectural systems failures, forensic engineering, and disaster recovery. Prior to joining the PSU faculty Kevin worked for a number of prominent architectural and engineering firms. Kevin also serves as an independent consultant in evaluating structural distress and failure.

Kevin is active in the ASCE Forensic Engineering Division and was a founding member of the Architectural Engineering Institute. Kevin has followed CROSS since its inception in the UK. He has advocated for it in industry and amongst his students.


John Tawresey

See profile above.

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