Maria Watson

Maria Watson

M.E. Rinker, Sr, School of Construction Management, Shimberg Center for Housing Studies
Assistant Professor
RINKER 203

Maria Watson is an Assistant Professor in the M.E. Rinker, Sr, School of Construction Management and affiliated researcher with the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies. Before coming to the University of Florida, she was a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and Hazard Reduction Recovery Center at Texas A&M University. She has degrees in Urban Planning from The Ohio State University and Texas A&M University.

Dr. Watson’s research focuses on the factors impacting community recovery after disaster events, particularly interdependencies between infrastructure, housing, and businesses. She is particularly interested in the effectiveness of disaster programs and how these programs can be structured to better meet recovery needs. Watson has been a part of multiple interdisciplinary disaster recovery research efforts in Texas, Louisiana and North Carolina after Hurricanes Ike, Harvey, Matthew, Florence, Laura, and Delta. She has received grants from the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Federal Emergency Management Agency for her research.

Dr. Watson has taught courses in quantitative methods, local government, and urban planning. She is currently co-teaching BCN-6585 Principles of Sustainable Development and Construction at the Rinker School.

Adam Smith

Adam Smith

M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management
Fire and Emergency Services Instructional Assistant Professor
352-273-1149

Lecturer Adam A. Smith holds a BS and MS in Fire and Emergency Service Management from the University of Florida.  He began his educational journey obtaining a Fire Science Diploma at TiftArea Technical College before moving on to obtain his AAS in Fire Science Technology from Chattahoochee Technical College.  Adam holds national certifications as a Firefighter, Fire Officer, Paramedic, Hazardous Materials Technician, Public Safety Diver, and Instructor.  He holds State of Florida certification as a Paramedic, State of Georgia First Class Firefighter certification, State of Georgia certification as a Paramedic, and is a State of Georgia Smoke Diver.  Adam’s goal is to start working on his PhD in 2021.

Adam has worked in Fire and Emergency Service since 1986 until retiring in July of 2020 as a Lieutenant with Lumpkin County (GA) Emergency Services.  He began his career at the University of Florida as a Fire and Emergency Service (FES) Management Adjunct Lecturer, January of 2020.  He accepted a FES Management Lecturer position with UF, August of 2020.  Adam’s experience as a firefighter, paramedic, and Fire Officer allows him to pair his extensive real-life experience with the desire to instruct and inspire others in the FES career field as well as FES students at the University of Florida.

Lecturer Smith teaches the following FES Management courses at the Rinker School of Construction Management: Principles of FES Management, Community Risk Reduction, FES Administration, Personnel Management for Emergency Services, Public Information and Community Relations, Current Issues in FES, and Analytical Approaches to Fire Protection.  Adam guides the Emergency Management Internship program.  Adam is also tasked with helping guide students with submitting FES Undergraduate Honors Papers.

R. Raymond Issa

R. Raymond Issa

M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management
Distinguished Professor
352-273-1152
RINKER 325

Areas of Focus:
Sustainability (Building Energy, Smart Buildings/Cities, Sustainable Technology, )
Developing dynamic sustainability information modeling (dSIM) platform; more info is available here: https://built-ecologist.com/2019/05/11/dynamic-sustainability-information-modeling-d-sim-for-smart-cities/

Bio:
R. Raymond Issa, Ph.D., J.D., P.E., F.ASCE, API is an engineer, lawyer and computer scientist and UF Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Advanced Construction Information Modeling (CACIM), Rinker School of Construction Management, University of Florida. Raymond specializes and teaches in the areas of BIM/VDC, AI/ML, industrialized construction, construction management, construction law, information technology, ontologies and semantics and structures and foundations and is an advocate for technology integration in the AECO industry.

Raymond is in demand as a keynote speaker on BIM, AR/VR, technology integration, manufactured construction, resiliency and creativity and innovation. Raymond has completed over $8 million in grants; his authorship includes over 350 publications and he has chaired over 350 Masters and over 50 Ph.D. committees. Raymond was elected an ASCE Fellow in 2009; received the ASCE Computing in Civil Engineering Award in 2012; was elected to Pan American Academy of Engineering (API) in 2014 and received the 2015 Best Paper Award from the ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management (JCEM).

Raymond currently serves as the Chief Editor of the ASCE Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering; on the Editorial Board of Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management (ECAM); as VP for the North American Region of the Pan American Federation of Engineering Societies (UPADI); as Chair of the International Society of Computing in Civil and Building Engineering (ISCCBE) Board of Directors, as Chair of the Academic interoperability Coalition (AiC) and as Member of the Board of Directors of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).

Robert F. Cox

Robert F. Cox

M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management
Director and Professor
352-273-1183
RINKER 306

As director, Robert leads the day-to-day operations of the Rinker School.  He spends much of his time engaged with industry partners while supporting faculty, staff, and students in keeping the School as one of the most reputable construction management programs in the country while maintaining its global recognition.

Prior to his return to UF in July 2020, he served as a Senior Associate Dean for Globalization and Global Fellow at Purdue University.  As senior associate dean, he was responsible for the overall strategic planning and execution of all international activities on behalf of the Purdue Polytechnic.  He provided leadership for more than a dozen global collaborative partnerships across four continents. Robert was recognized with the Purdue’s 2019 Global Vision Award for his accomplishments in globalization.

He led the development of the European Alliance Strategic Partnership bringing together six university partners from Europe and the United States (four European and two US institutions) to foster increased collaboration in faculty mobility, student exchange, and research.

Prior to this role, he served as the Department Head of Building Construction Management from 2006 – 2012. From 1993-2006 Robert was the Associate Director / Director of Undergraduate Programs for the Rinker School of Building Construction at the University of Florida. He completed his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering – Construction Engineering and Management at Virginia Tech in 1994.  His research interests include the application of technology, trust models, performance measurement, continuous improvement strategies, development of global strategic collaborative partnerships, and the development of increased intercultural capacity and global awareness among faculty and students.

Robert currently serves the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR) in the United Arab Emirates as an accrediting visitor for construction management and civil engineering programs.

He has been active in designing, implementing, and monitoring employee development, strategic quality management and continuous improvement programs within construction firms. He has given lectures on numerous construction management topics, such as;  internet-based collaborative project management systems, continuous improvement, high performance management techniques, trust building, and globalization strategies throughout the world.

His current areas of research interest include the international construction project management, technology applications to construction management, internet based collaborative project management systems, employee training and development, Key Behavioral Indicators, Key Performance Indicators, and modeling the Return on Investment of Employee Training.

A three-time national award-winning teacher, Robert was selected the University of Florida’s Teacher of the Year for 1999-2000. He also received the College of Architecture Teacher of the Year Award in 1999-2000.  In 2004, Robert was selected as one of five inaugural members of the University of Florida’s Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars.

Robert has taught construction management courses in planning and scheduling, estimating, and productivity improvement, cost analyses, construction project simulation, and global construction.  Prior to academics and consulting, Robert served in many management roles within the construction industry.  Robert continues to serve the construction industry as an active consultant, global strategic advisor, construction expert witness, as well as a provider of professional / executive coaching.  Most recently his corporate training programs have focused on developing high performance teams through a learning cultural environment. He has worked with more than 160 master students and 25 doctoral candidates.  Robert has authored more than 60 publications and reports.

 

Aladdin Alwisy

Aladdin Alwisy

M.E. Rinker, Sr, School of Construction Management
Assistant Professor
352-273-1157
RINKER 311

Areas of Focus:
Sustainability 
(Building Energy, Sustainable Architecture and Design, Sustainable Construction,)
The improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings through the optimization of conceptual designs/space layouts.

Research Interests

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms.
  • Building information modelling (BIM).
  • Modular/off-site construction.
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality.
  • Energy simulation and analysis.
  • Green building and sustainable design.
  • Visual programming and Big Data analytics

Idris Jeelani

Idris Jeelani

M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management
Assistant Professor
352-273-1164
RINKER 316

Ph.D. Civil Engineering, North Carolina State University, 2019
M.S. Civil Engineering, North Carolina State University, 2016
B.Tech. Civil Engineering, NIT Silchar, 2011

Dr. Jeelani leads the Construction Automation and safety (CAS) research group, at the Rinker School of Construction Management. His research focuses on construction safety, visual data analytics, and cognitive sciences to support the building of the next generation of safe and smart infrastructure. He joined UF in 2019 after completing his Ph.D. and MS in civil engineering from North Carolina State university. Over the years, he has worked on multiple research projects focusing on : (1) visual attention behavior of construction workers and its impact on their safety performance, (2) augmenting worker performance through the development of AI solutions, and (3) evaluating the health and safety impacts of automated and robotic machines in construction.

The outcomes of the research have been published in leading peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. Dr. Jeelani developed the first personalized hazard-recognition training intervention for construction workers in 2016. The work was published in the ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management and awarded the best paper of 2017 and was nominated for the Norman medal. Dr. Jeelani has also developed the first algorithm to map real-world gaze fixations of dynamic human subjects and developed a novel vision-based automated hazard detection system for construction. The work will be instrumental in augmenting human worker’s performance in detecting hazards on construction job sites. Currently, Dr. Jeelani is working on multiple projects funded by NSF and the US Department of Labor investigating the health and safety implications of UAVs on construction job sites, and building the AI-based tools to improve safety performance in construction.

Jason von Meding

Jason von Meding

M.E Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management, Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience (FIBER)
Associate Professor
352-294-3374
AYERS BUILDING Suite 105

Ph.D. Construction (Disaster) Management, BArch, BSc Architecture – All Queen’s University Belfast, UK

Areas of Focus:
Sustainability (Built Environment Resilience)

Research:
My research focuses on the injustices and inequalities that are foundational to our social system, and how disasters unveil society and show us what needs to change. At its core, my intellectual pursuits are interrogating what a sustainable social/political/economic future would look like, and demonstrating that we are not on such a pathway.

Bio:
Dr. Jason von Meding is an Associate Professor in Rinker School and a founding faculty member of the Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience (FIBER). He is a researcher, educator and communicator in disaster studies who joined the University of Florida in 2019. His research is primarily community-centered and highly participatory, focusing on how injustice and inequality are the fundamental drivers of risk in society, and therefore shape disaster impacts.

Before moving to the U.S. he spent 6 years at the University of Newcastle, Australia, where he established the Disaster and Development Research Group and was recognized as Researcher of the Year at the institution level in 2017. His PhD was conferred by the Queen’s University of Belfast in Northern Ireland, where he also spent 3 years on faculty from 2010-2013 and before that trained as an architect in the early 2000s.

Jason has taught students around the world about disasters for over a decade – from the societal root causes of risk to post-disaster professional practice. At the University of Florida, he delivers courses about the history of shelter, housing and sustainable construction. He is Coordinator of CIB Working Commission 120- Disasters and the Built Environment and is a popular speaker in the disaster studies field. As part of his focus on public facing science communication, he is co-host of the Disasters: Deconstructed Podcast and tweets @vonmeding.

Eileen Pesantes-Taveres

Eileen Pesantes-Taveres

M.E Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management
Instructional Assistant Professor
RINKER 340

B.S. in Civil Engineering, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
M.S. in Engineering with concentration on Structural Engineering Mechanics and Materials, University of California at Berkeley
M.S. in Civil Engineering with concentration on Construction Engineering and Management, Stanford University
Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with concentration on Construction Engineering and Management, University of Florida

Eileen Pesantes-Tavares, PhD, graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez in 1994. She earned a M.E. in Structural Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley in 1995. After working as a structural engineer, she decided to pursue a construction degree and went back to school. She earned a MS in Construction Engineering and Management from Stanford University in 1998. While teaching at her Alma Mater, she decided to pursue a PhD in Construction Engineering and Management at the University of Florida. She graduated in 2011.

Pesantes worked as a research engineer with the US Army Corp of Engineers at their Engineer Research and Development Center before graduate school. After completing two Master’s degrees, she worked in two different construction companies in the San Francisco Bay Area in projects that ranged from a small office remodeling up to a complete new campus for a major Hi-tech Company. When she moved back to Puerto Rico, she was offered a teaching position at her Alma Mater. Teaching was something that Pesantes always contemplated as a career path. After six years of teaching, she went back to graduate school. After finishing her PhD, she taught as an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering at UF, as a lecturer and academic advisor at the School of Engineering at UNF and, currently as a lecturer at the Rinker School of Construction Management at UF.

The courses Pesantes teaches are varied. Construction Materials and Temporary Structures focus on the design and materials side of construction. International Sustainable Design focuses in key concepts related to sustainable development worldwide. Introduction to Construction presents first year students the different types of work they can do in construction through weekly guest lectures that include professionals from the construction industry.

Andrew Wehle

Andrew Wehle

M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management
Instructional Assistant Professor
352-294-1407

Ph.D. Construction Management, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Master’s of Cultural Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Bachelor’s of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

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