In a virtual ceremony held Oct. 29, Distinguished Professor Jean-Louis Briaud assumed the role of 2021 president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), accepting the presidential pin and gavel from 2020 President K.N. Gunalan. Founded in 1852, ASCE is the nation’s oldest engineering society and represents more than 150,000 civil engineers worldwide. Briaud will serve as president of ASCE for one year.
Employed with Texas A&M University since 1978, Briaud’s professional interests include a broad range of geotechnical specialties, notably bridge scour. He has performed research on this topic with the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, the Texas Department of Transportation and other state departments of transportation for more than 30 years. Briaud has also been an advisor to the U.S. Congress on several large bridge scour and erosion projects, such as the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, the Katrina Hurricane–New Orleans levees erosion, and the cliffs of Normandy scaled by the Allies on D-Day during World War II.
“The role of ASCE president is a fantastic honor and responsibility,” said Briaud. “I look forward to working with everybody to build upon the good work that’s been done before me.”
Manager of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Program, Briaud also holds the Spencer J. Buchanan Chair in Texas A&M’s Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. In 2015, he received the Regents Fellow Service Award, the highest Texas A&M University System honor recognizing individuals who provide exemplary professional service to society. Briaud is a firm believer in continuing education and offers regular short courses on topics emanating from his research.
Briaud’s focus as president of ASCE is on improving communication with members; encouraging collaboration between institutes and their local regions; and enhancing the student transition rate. He describes ASCE as a professional family and encourages all civil engineers to be members.
“In life you have two families. You have your blood family, and you have your professional family. You wouldn’t think twice about helping your own family,” said Briaud. “It’s important we help and treat ASCE like we would our own family. Every civil engineer should be a member of ASCE.”