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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Contact: Bill Outlaw
Tel: 202-366-0660
FHWA 7-03

Wright Named FHWA Engineer of the Year

Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters today announced that William Wright, who oversees the structures laboratory at the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, has been named the agency's Engineer of the Year for 2002 and has received its Engineering Excellence Award. The award recognizes outstanding professional achievement.

"Bill managed a successful research program in high-performance steel that led to reduced initial cost, lower maintenance and longer life for many new bridges nationwide," Peters said. "He has spurred innovation and improved the performance of steel highway structures. We are proud to have him in the FHWA family."

Wright, who joined the FHWA in 1988, is the FHWA's key technical expert on issues related to the design, fabrication, construction and inspection of structural steel for highways. Wright led FHWA's forensic investigation of the Hoan Bridge failure in Milwaukee and helped identify the cause of the brittle fracture, and then drafted technical guidance to deal with similar problems on other bridges nationwide. Wright also directed the national pooled fund research project to conduct full-scale testing and comprehensive analytical modeling of curved steel girder highway bridges. This work developed a new American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) specification for the design and construction of steel highway bridges.

As the FHWA's engineer of the year, Wright will be recognized by the National Society of Professional Engineers along with other distinguished engineers who work for the federal government. The Engineering Excellence award is an annual award that the FHWA gives to the winner of the agency's engineer-of-the-year competition.

Wright received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and a master's degree in structural engineering, both from the University of Maryland. He will complete his Ph.D. in structural engineering from Lehigh University in June 2003. He also is active on several national technical committees, including the Transportation Research Board Steel Bridge Committee and the American Society of Civil Engineers Fatigue and Fracture Committee.

Wright resides with his family in Lusby, MD.


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