From: Lowery Jr, Lee L
Sent: Wednesday, September 04, 2019 8:36 AM
To: Kenny Riggs
Subject: RE: Forensic engineering
Categories: Annual Faculty Progress Report !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Howdy Kenny. My goodness, what a success story.
And what a pleasure to be reminded of what hard work and dedication can accomplish. Not at all unusual for Aggie grads, but getting second degrees in Civil Engineering is close to the top. I will indeed post our thread for others who wonder if Life II is really still an option for us old timers.
Congratulations, and drop by any time. I would thoroughly enjoy chatting up old times and our future goals with you.
Lee L. Lowery, Jr., PhD, P.E. <><
Texas A&M University – College Station, TX 77843-3136 – Mail Stop 3136
You will find, when you die, that that part of yourself which you gave to others does not die with you.
This is a follow-up to a 5 year old e-mail chain, but I wanted to leave something with you.
After our exchange, I was encouraged by your assertion that, at 51, I was not too old to pursue a line of work I enjoyed. Shortly thereafter, rather than try to insert myself into a field through the side door, I altered my work schedule to report reviewing only (as opposed to field inspection), transferred my Texas A&M hours to the University of New Orleans and enrolled in their Civil Engineering program.
The Office of Academic Affairs gave me a hard time about taking my 30 year old hours and expressed doubt that I had retained enough of the coursework to continue in a difficult field. After many semi-heated exchanges about wanting me to repeat the Fine Arts and Literature classes (which I eventually did not) I continued anyway and, 3 years later, graduated with a degree in Civil/Structural Engineering with a 3.85 GPA and at the top of my class. The US Army Corps of Engineers recruited me through their internship program and, after 2 years of mostly computational assistance, I now work as a structural analysis member of the Lock and Dam Safety Team in Mobile, AL and absolutely love the job.
Please pass this on to anyone else in my position that wants to change their career path at a later age and is apprehensive about it. It WAS difficult, but it can be done.
There are some specific pitfalls for older folks going back for another degree (that probably cost me a year of time) that I would be happy to share with anyone contemplating this path.
Thank you again for your initial encouragement and foresight. I still hope to get by College Station someday to say hello in person.
Best Regards (and Gig ’em),
Kenny Riggs ’84
On Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 2:40 PM Lowery Jr, Lee L <email@example.com> wrote:
Old textbooks have almost the same materials as the new ones, except in courses where codes are updated over the years. Statics hasn’t changed in 200 years.
All of my classes are taped and on line at http://lowery.tamu.edu Go to the bottom of the page and click on anything I teach, statics, strength of materials, structures, steel design, systems. Also on line is http://engineeringregistration.tamu.edu.
From: Kenny Riggs [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2014 1:41 PM
To: Lowery Jr, Lee L
Subject: Re: Forensic engineering
Thank you for the reply. I will continue my quest.
In addition to offering expert testimony, I would also like to perform the inspections myself and may need some of the old knowledge I haven’t used since I worked for Link-Belt (1988). If I reviewed the old CE 204 textbook and notes, would that be a good source? Are there any Continuing Ed courses that refresh the formulas and equations used to investigate failure or movement of a structure?
On Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 11:15 AM, Lowery Jr, Lee L <email@example.com> wrote:
Thanks for the kind words, and it is nice to hear from you again after these 30 years.
I have been an expert witness on numerous cases, and even after 30 years testifying and other bells and whistles, I often get hassled about my ability to testify in cases. In my experience, we often use various non-degreed experts in fields who by experience alone have far more knowledge about the case than I could ever gather without spending a 10 year apprenticeship walking in their shoes. They are not usually called on to testify in court, but without their feeding me the facts, showing me the relevant codes, leading me to the other 20 times it happened, which agency it was reported to, etc., I would have to reinvent every wheel around.
Those guys are invaluable. Attorneys and forensic engineering firms probably have 10 on those on staff for every PhD.
So if you want to testify, in today’s environment, you might indeed need to upgrade your degree unless ETID covers theoretical aspects of whatever you are working on, complemented with your 30 years of experience.
If you instead like to solve a problem, find out what went wrong, and then explain it to some PhD until he halfway understands what is going on, and then he explains it to a jury until they halfway understand it, you are probably more than ready to go as is.
I personally wouldn’t let being 51 slow me down at all. You still easily have another 30 years of work in you, especially if you are having fun at it. I also wouldn’t worry about wasting anyone’s time. They are always interested in such capabilities. You could at a minimum tell an attorney what really happened, so they know early on whether to pursue a case or not. A tremendous advantage.
A couple of attorneys have recently contacted me to see if I knew where they could find an expert with a PhD, all kinds of publications, etc., for what I assume was to be court work. They said they already knew the truth, and needed an established expert to help in convincing others. Every time I hear that, I know they had someone like you getting all their ducks in a row.
Go for it.
Lee L. Lowery, Jr., PhD, P.E. <><
Good morning. I hope all is well.
I am a 1984 grad of A&M with a degree in E.T.I.D. I was in one of your CE 204 classes back in the day and took interest in CVEN, but had a different interest in mind at that time and actually worked in that area until shortly after 9/11, when a lot of things changed.
At that time, I made an involuntary move to the insurance industry and ended up in claims handling. I have since migrated to flood claim handling and, in recent years, I have been contracted by the government to perform random re-inspections of flood claims reports (for quality) and to handle appeals of settlements.
We frequently employ the services of engineers to perform forensic inspections of structures to determine cause and origin of damage. Working with these engineers as resurrected my interest in this area.
When I began thinking about possibly trying to enter the arena of forensic engineering and wondering
1) Am I qualified for that line of work?, and 2) What would I need to do to be qualified to perform that type of work?, I could only think of one person to ask.
At 51 years old and with the experience I have in structural inspections for specific damage, is there a path to being certified/qualified for this type of work that does not require long term work toward another degree?
I realize this is a broad question about someone you do not know personally, but I trust your knowledge of the field. I also realize that this has everything to do with finding the right opportunity somewhere, but I do not want to waste time (mine or anyone else’s) in an endeavor that has very little or no chance of happening in my limited time frame.
Thank you in advance for any advice or knowledge you can offer. I just did not want to pass up a possible opportunity to do something I really enjoy by thinking it was too late to try and not wanting to embarrass myself by contacting an employer prior to knowing what I needed to have behind me.
It was a pleasure to have learned from you.
General Adjuster – File Examiner
NFIP FCN 04070414 – AL Lic 0460510
Associate in National Flood Insurance