Faculty Profile

Donald Ray Uzarski

Donald Ray Uzarski
Donald Ray Uzarski

Biography

Donald R. Uzarski has been a member of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Civil Engineering faculty since 1994. He has been supporting the railroad engineering program through the development and teaching of a course in railroad track engineering. He has also taught courses in transportation engineering and pavement management.

Dr. Uzarski retired in the summer of 2004 from the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL), Champaign, IL, after twenty years of service. He served as a Principal Investigator and Project Manager for research efforts in railroad track and building asset management. He also served as a technical consultant in those areas to the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy.

The technology transfer mechanism for Dr. Uzarski's research is through the computerized asset management decision support systems called RAILER (railroad track) and BUILDER (buildings). Dr. Uzarski designed these database driven computer applications and new versions reflect new embedded technology and capabilities. Geographical Information System (GIS) technology is included in both. RAILER and BUILDER are available to the various Department of Defense activities, other federal agencies, local and state Governments and the private sector. Dr. Uzarski also developed and teaches short courses on these topics for new users. To successfully accomplish the research, Dr. Uzarski has interacted and partnered with professionals within the military services, academia, other governmental agencies and the private sector.

A retired Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer, Dr. Uzarski served on active duty between 1970 and 1986 and in the reserves from 1986 to 1995. He retired at the rank of Captain. His duty stations included locations in both the United States and overseas, including two tours in the Seabees. His various duty assignments progressed to increased leadership positions and responsibilities in all aspects of construction, public works, and contracts. He was also a course director and instructor at the Naval School, Civil Engineer Corps Officers.

He earned his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1970, 1980, and 1991, respectively. His Ph.D. thesis consisted of developing a low-speed, low volume railroad track condition assessment procedure consisting of condition indexes. He has authored over fifty papers, reports, and articles on the various aspects of infrastructure (railroads, roads, and buildings) asset management.

Professional memberships include being an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA), the Transportation Research Board (TRB), and other organizations. He serves on several national committees for ASCE, AREMA, and TRB and is the Past-Chair of the ASCE Infrastructure Asset Management Committee. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Illinois and Pennsylvania. His awards include the Navy Achievement Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the ASCE Government Civil Engineer of the Year (Zone III) in 1992 and the CERL Researcher of the Year in 1990.

Dr. Uzarski's research in the science of asset management has led to improved maintenance and repair (M&R) decision making which results in improved facility condition at less cost. The U.S. Armed Services own and operate thousands of miles of railroad track and thousands of buildings. Dr. Uzarski's work has saved countless dollars through M&R cost avoidance for those assets.

Research Statement

During 20 years at the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, Dr. Uzarski conducted research to further developing the science of asset management. This includes modeling the decision making process, determining the data required to support those decisions, establishing the business rules to support the process, creating new metrics to measure condition and performance, and performing necessary analyses.