Dr. Abdol Chini is a professor of Construction Management and Past Director of the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management at the University of Florida. He received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Tehran, M.S. in Structural Engineering from the George Washington University, and Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Dr. Chini has performed extensive research on the reuse and recycling of construction materials including recycled concrete aggregates, wastewater generated at concrete plants and salvaged lumber from deconstructed buildings to minimize environmental impacts. He also has developed measures to reduce the energy consumption of existing homes in Florida through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. His current research focuses on developing the curriculum for training and certification programs in manufactured construction that is being funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. He is a registered professional engineer and his work experience includes project management for several construction projects in Washington D.C. metropolitan area.
Dr. Chini is the Coordinator of Working Commission 115 (Construction Materials Stewardship) of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB), Chair of the Standards Committee for American Council for Construction Education and served as the Academic Advisor for Department of Building and Real Estate at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University from 2006 to 2012. He has edited three books, has published more than 140 papers and has made numerous national and international presentations. He is the recipient of the 2016 University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship.
What is your current role and what does it entail?
I am the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Facilities. In that capacity, I am the primary administrative officer of the college with regard to all aspects of its undergraduate programs, including recruitment, admissions, curriculum, advising, records management and graduation. In these matters, I represent the college on other appropriate campus committees and, in turn, work with program administrators within the college to ensure compliance with campus policies and procedures. I am also responsible for maintaining accurate records of space utilization within college facilities and work with the Dean and other college units to ensure that there are adequate and appropriate facilities for all college functions.
How long have you been at DCP and what previous roles have you served here?
I joined DCP in 1994 as associate professor of building construction, served as the BCN graduate coordinator from 1996-1999, director of the Powell Center for Construction and Environment from 1999-2003 and director of Rinker School from 2003 to 2011.
What inspires you?
My former students inspire me. I usually invite them as guest speakers to the classes I teach and am amazed by their level of knowledge, professionalism, loyalty to the college and dedication and desire to give back. The success of our alumni is rewarding and inspires me to be a better teacher.
Most influential people in your life.
This is a tough question. Many people have influenced my life but the two most important ones are my oldest brother and my wife. From my brother, I learned to love reading books and become obsessed with math and science. I looked up to him and wanted to do everything he did. I even got the same engineering degree and went to the same college he did. I didn’t make any big decision without talking to him first because his opinion mattered so much. I’m grateful that I had such a great role model and brother. My wife has also been an enormous influence for me. She has sacrificed her greater career success to allow me to achieve my big dreams. I have relied on her loving and caring of our sons and spent more time on my work life. The kindness in her heart and the intelligence in her mind have impacted all aspects of my life. I learned from her that no matter how tired you are, you still have to make time for your family and friends.
What do you think is the most exciting trend in your field today?
Information technology and communication techniques are the most exciting trends in the design and construction of the built environment today. Creating a 3D building model and combine it with a project schedule, cost and life cycle management information has revolutionized the design and construction practices. Blueprint Apps are installed on tablets and used in the field and in the office to provide real time communications between the project stakeholders. Use of drones in surveying and mapping, monitoring progress in real time for large-scale projects and monitoring and promoting of safety practices is growing. Use of these techniques is changing and improving current design and construction process and making the industry more productive, competitive and client-oriented.