News & Features

Structural Engineering Firms Team Up to Provide Support for Graduate Students

FSEL Student Support 4

Photo (left to right): Ramón Carrasquillo (Carrasquillo Associates), Carlos Garza (Carrasquillo Associates), Juan Murcia-Delso (UT), Dirk Kestner (Walter P Moore), Michael Ahern (Pivot Engineers), and Michael Engelhardt (UT). 

May 28, 2019

Three Texas-based structural engineering firms — Carrasquillo Associates, Pivot Engineers and Walter P Moore — have each made significant gifts to the Cockrell School of Engineering to collectively establish The Professional Partners Fellowship, an endowment that will support graduate degree students in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (CAEE).

This inaugural collaborative donation of $90,000 will support one graduate research position for two years and fund innovative work at the school’s Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory (FSEL) and the Laboratory of Infrastructure and Material Engineering— both of which are among the world’s best research facilities dedicated to advancing concrete technology and improving the analysis, design and construction of the world’s infrastructure. Through this gift, the firms will help graduate students acquire the skills they need to advance the construction and structural engineering profession.

“As partners with the university, it is our goal to complement the education and research experience of the university’s graduate students with the knowledge we have acquired through the practice of our profession to meet the world’s future needs,” said Ramon L. Carrasquillo, Ph.D., P.E., President of Carrasquillo Associates.

The inaugural awardee will work with Dr. Juan Murcia-Delso, whose research on the assessment and rehabilitation of earthquake-affected reinforced concrete structures will have a direct impact on the professional practice of the three firms that have created this endowment.

“We are very excited to have consulting engineering firms investing in the future of our profession,” said Bob Gilbert, CAEE chair. “By providing a graduate student with the opportunity to collaborate on important research, these firms are both enhancing the student’s educational experience and directly contributing to innovations that will have an enormous impact on society.” 

The firms look forward to providing off-campus mentorship opportunities of their own by welcoming the student to their offices to interact with young professionals, present research updates and get a real-world glimpse into potential future careers.

“Walter P Moore is excited to join Carrasquillo Associates and Pivot Engineers as inaugural partners in the Professional Partners Fellowship,” said Dirk Kestner, P.E., Principal and Director of Sustainable Design at Walter P Moore. “We look forward to collaborating with them, as well as CAEE, to shape and grow this unique fellowship program to benefit not only the recipient but our industry as a whole.”

But, most importantly, the firms hope their visionary investment will serve as a “seed fund” that inspires their peers and other organizations in the industry to make their own contributions and grow the endowment to an amount that will support more graduate students for many years to come.

“Pivot Engineers values research that benefits our industry, our relationship with CAEE, and our collaborations with close colleagues, so the Professional Partners Fellowship is a great fit for our company,” said Michael Ahern, P.E., Principal at Pivot Engineers. “We are proud to be inaugural partners with Carrasquillo Associates and Walter P Moore, and we look forward to working with them, the graduate student recipient and UT to make this fellowship a success.”