Tishman Lecture

Start Date: 
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

GG Brown 2355

Dr. Stephen R. Thomas

Title: 30 Years of Collaborative Academic and Industry Research – the Need and Impact


In the late 1970’s the Business Roundtable sponsored the Construction Industry Cost Effectiveness Project to improve the competitiveness of American business.  This CICE five-year study of the construction industry and its problems by more than 250 industry leaders, practitioners, and academicians recognized the need for an academic based organization to take a leadership role in construction research.  To fulfill this need, the Construction Industry Institute (CII) was founded in 1983 at the University of Texas at Austin as an opportunity for companies and academia to work together to improve the construction industry.
The CICE study stemmed from an environment of staggering inflation and labor disputes, where the construction industry – the largest in the country at the time, with its poor safety record, and troubling cost and schedule overruns, was leading the nation in a downward economic spiral.  From this setting, 28 industry owner and contractor companies came together in a cooperative endeavor to engage academic researchers in a process that would change the industry.  This presentation provides an overview of the CII process and some of the results by which industry leaders, together with academic researchers have driven positive change for one of the nation’s most critical industries.


Dr. Stephen R. Thomas is director of the Construction Industry Institute (CII) Research Program and a research professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.  The CII Research Program has an annual budget of approximately $2.5 million for research conducted at approximately 20 universities throughout North America.  Previously he directed the CII Benchmarking & Metrics Program, a research based activity for capital projects improvement.  He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in project management, engineering economics, statistics, metrics, and quantitative analysis.  Prior to arriving at UT, Dr. Thomas served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for 20 years with assignments in Europe, the Middle East, the United States, and Asia.  He also was an assistant professor in the Department of Systems Engineering at the United States Military Academy where he directed the Engineering Management program of instruction.  He received a B.S. degree in engineering from The United States Military Academy, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.  Dr. Thomas is a registered professional engineer in California and is a member of the National Academy of Construction.

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