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West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

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Marshall engineering dean named chairman of prestigious national committee

Dr. Wael Zatar

Dr. Wael Zatar, dean of Marshall University’s College of Information Technology and Engineering (CITE), has been appointed as the chairman of the National Committee on Structural Fiber Reinforced Polymers of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academics.

The committee is among the largest and most prestigious national – and international – committees on the subject of Structural Fiber Reinforced Polymers. Zatar’s initial service is for three years, from 2015 to 2018, although he said it is expected to be extended for another three years to 2021.

“As a proud Marshall employee, it is my great honor to serve in this capacity,” Zatar said. “I will be the first from the state of West Virginia to serve in such a national role in the field of composites’ application to transportation infrastructure.”

Robert E. Skinner Jr., executive director of the Transportation Research Board’s executive committee, informed Zatar by letter of his appointment.

The TRB is a division of the National Research Council (NRC), a private, nonprofit institution that provides expertise in science and technology to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities.

The NRC is jointly administered by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Members of NRC technical committees serve as individuals, not as representatives of the organizations by which they are employed or of which they may be members.

“It is my absolute honor to be appointed as the chair for the standing National Committee on Structural Fiber Reinforced Polymers of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academics,” Zatar said. “It is my privilege to say that prior to my appointment to chair this prestigious committee, I had the honor of being appointed as a member of the committee for the past ten years.”

Zatar said the committee is concerned with all aspects of the development and use of structural applications of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites for transportation-related structures, including bridges, maintenance, buildings, pipes, sign and luminaire support poles, guide rails, and guard rails.

The committee provides a forum for gathering, synthesizing, and disseminating information on research and development and on the design, fabrication, serviceability, inspection and repair of fiber-reinforced polymer transportation structures. Activities of this committee assist developing an awareness of the potential impacts of using composites for a wide range of structural applications and provide information for development and conduct of academic courses on FRP composites for civil engineers.

“In my role as the committee chair, I am responsible for organizing sessions and workshops at the Transportation Research Board annual meetings and mid-year meetings,” Zatar said. “And, to develop research-need statements to be posted in the Transportation Research Board database, develop synthesis topics, arrange for special publications such as the Transportation Record circulars and conference proceedings, and serve as a liaison with technical committees and constituency groups including the Federal Highway Administration Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites virtual team, American Concrete Institute and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.”

He said his role on the committee would allow him to continue acquiring the latest knowledge in the field and be able to transfer and implement the state-of-the-art knowledge and the state-of-the-practice for repair technologies, thus benefitting the infrastructure system in West Virginia and the United States.

“I would truly envision that these efforts would advance the United States’ transportation system through providing innovative and cost–effective solutions to the crumbling infrastructure,” Zatar said. “I plan on fostering the great partnership that Marshall has established with the West Virginia Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the United States Department of Transportation.  My leadership of the Committee should assist in pushing our strong partnerships with Institutions of Higher Education in Kentucky, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and Ohio and with all our industry partners to a much higher level.”