Academy of Distinguished Alumni

headshot of Hernan de Solminihac

Hernán de Solminihac Tampier

PhD, University of Texas at Austin, 1991
MS, University of Texas at Austin, 1986
BS, Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile, 1982

Hernán de Solminihac is an engineer, academic, researcher, consultant and former public servant for the government of Chile. He illustrates how civil engineers can combine their abilities in human relations and business acumen for to fill a number of important roles in society. Currently, he is Director of the Construction and Engineering Management Department at the School of Engineering of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC). He is also a researcher at the university's Latin American Center of Economic and Social Policies. 

After earning graduate degrees at The University of Texas at Austin, he returned to Chile to resume academic life.  As a professor at UC, de Solminihac taught infrastructure management and civil engineering to undergraduate and graduate students. Within three years, he became Dean of Engineering.

de Solminihac also served as a Board Member of the university’s technology transfer agency, the Direction of Technological and Scientific Researches (DICTUC) from 1998 to 2004. His research in the infrastructure management area included diverse urban and interurban projects in the public and private sector in Chile and abroad.

In 2010, Sebastian Piñera, the elected President of Chile, invited him to join his cabinet. He was sworn in as the Minister of Public Works in 2010 and soon after taking the office, Chile was hit with an 8.8 magnitude earthquake. de Solminihac immediately took charge of repairing the most urgently needed elements of civil infrastructure.

He led the reconstruction of the country and his team had 96% of the damaged infrastructure in full or partial service within two months of the disaster. He not only delivered urgent solutions during a national emergency but also worked toward improving safety standards.  

de Solminihac was promoted to Minister of Mines in July 2011. In this role, he realized that continued growth of the mining industry in Chile brought new challenges for the country, including continued attention to optimal labor safety and sustainable growth, as well as evaluating impacts of mine closures.