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Dr. Anand Puppala | Image: Courtesy of Dr. Anand Puppala

Dr. Anand Puppala researches expansive soils and ways to mitigate their distress to built infrastructure, and his research solutions concentrate on sustainable materials and practices. Most recently, he has focused on the impact of hurricanes on urban infrastructure, with most of these focused on the resilient solutions for strengthening the built infrastructure. For these research works, the A.P. Florence Wiley Professor in the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M University was recently recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Geo-Institute with the 2020 Ralph B. Peck Award.

“I met Professor Ralph Peck very early in my faculty career as he was the keynote speaker for a professor training class held in Colorado in 2000. I had some interactions with him during that conference, and I always remember his friendship and mentoring toward us in particular young faculty members,” Puppala said. “I am truly humbled and honored to receive this distinguished award, and I attribute this success to my faculty advisors and my research team members.”

Puppala’s research has been instrumental in fundamental advances in expansive soils and unsaturated soil mechanics along with the practical implementation of soil improvement technologies for supporting transportation infrastructure. The research he conducts for the National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Transportation, Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tarrant Regional Water District, and other entities helps infrastructure last longer and take on less distress during their usage.

Specifically, Puppala’s recent works with TXDOT and NSF included the use of drones to monitor the condition of roads, embankments, rail tracks as well as address infrastructure conditions in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

He is the current chair of the geotechnical engineering section of the Transportation Research Board and a member of the ASCE Technical Coordination Council.

The Ralph B. Peck Award is presented for outstanding contributions to the geotechnical engineering profession through the publication of a thoughtful, carefully researched case history or histories, or the publication of recommended practices or design methodologies based on the evaluation of case histories.