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HUNTINGTON — Wael Zatar, Ph.D., dean of Marshall University’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences (CECS), has been appointed to become the founding chairman of the National Standing Committee on Innovative Highway Structures and Appurtenances of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies, according to a news release.

The committee has been formed to address all aspects of applications of fiber-reinforced polymer composites in transportation structures. They will focus on building information modeling and structures such as bridges, maintenance, buildings, pipes, sign and luminaire support poles, and guard rails.

It aims to become the largest and most prestigious international committee on the subjects of modern highway structures and innovative applications of fiber reinforced polymers.

Prior to accepting this appointment, Zatar served for two consecutive terms, a total of six years, as the chairman of the National Committee on Structural Fiber Reinforced Polymers of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. The committee served as the flagship international committee on the subject of structural fiber reinforced polymers. He served on the committee for 17 consecutive years.

Zatar has been recognized several times nationally for his leadership role in developing and implementing structural fiber reinforced polymers in transportation engineering. He has been a pioneer in the field, has trained hundreds of experts over the past three decades and has received numerous awards for contributions to the field of bridge engineering. Zatar also has served as a keynote speaker around the globe.

“I am a very proud Marshall University employee, and it has been my absolute honor to serve our nation in these capacities,” he said.

Zatar has been the only professor from West Virginia to serve these roles in the fields of composites’ application to transportation bridges and the development of innovative solutions for the nation’s crippling infrastructure.

The TRB is a division of the National Research Council (NRC), a private, nonprofit institution that provides expertise in science and technology to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The NRC is jointly administered by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine.

“It is an absolute privilege to be appointed as the founding chair for the standing National Committee on Innovative Highway Structures and Appurtenances of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies,” Zatar said. “I am determined to do my very best to serve our country while getting our beloved Marshall University the credit it deserves.”

In his role, Zatar will arrange meetings and workshops, help identify research needs and serve as a liaison with stakeholders including the Federal Highway Administration Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites virtual team, the American Concrete Institute and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. He also will help collect the latest knowledge in the field to implement state-of-the-art practices for innovative repair technologies in West Virginia and throughout the United States.

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