Earlier this month our Director of Structural Engineering, Tom McLaughlin, had the opportunity to provide the closing keynote address at The National Society of Professional Engineers 2016
Professional Engineers Conference. Tom is an active member of the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Team in Northern VA which is a domestic and international disaster response resource sponsored by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Through this task force, Tom has embarked on several international missions to countries such as Ecuador and Nepal, utilizing his structural engineering skills to provide aid after natural disasters caused severe damages.
The National Society of Structural Engineering asked Mr. McLaughlin and one other volunteer, Jon Tung, to recount their missions to Nepal and Ecuador after earthquakes struck the countries in April 2015 and April 2016 respectively. Both tragic, Nepal’s earthquake resulted in almost 9,000 deaths and 21,000 injuries, while Ecuador’s earthquake killed over 600 and injured 27,000. The earthquakes flattened villages across the countries, rendering many of the inhabitants homeless. Marty Mikula also took part in the mission, but was unable to attend the conference.
As part of the rescue and relief effort, the engineers relied on their training and experience to assess damaged structures for both immediate rescue access as well as re-occupancy. While the days are long and the time away from work and family can be trying Mr. Tung and Mr. McLaughlin explained to the NSPE conference attendees that the experience is always different and always gratifying.