WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.—March 18, 2021—The Purdue University Polytechnic Institute has appointed Randy Rapp to the new role of Professor of Restoration and Reconstruction within the School of Construction Management Technology. The professorship was created in response to the emergence of disaster restoration and reconstruction (DRR) as an academic field which merits further study, research, and education, especially as we deal with increasingly larger and more frequent natural disasters resulting from climate change. According to an article from the Purdue University Newsroom, the professorship was funded by the late Robert “Bob” Bonwell, owner of Advanced Restoration Supply, along with other industry professionals seeking to elevate disaster restoration as a field of study.

“It is important to emphasize that the impetus for incorporating the DRR focus in Purdue’s construction management curriculum and research portfolio came directly from the industry in response to the growing need for both filling management positions and advancing trans-disciplinary learning, engagement and use-inspired research, all of which are critical components of Purdue Polytechnic’s mission,” said Željko “Z” Torbica, professor and head of the School of Construction Management Technology, according to the article. “This has placed us on the trajectory of becoming a global center of excellence for DRR education and research, therefore making a tangible contribution to Purdue’s reputation of being one of the most innovative universities in the world.”

Randy Rapp has a breadth and depth of experience that is almost unparallel in the industry, according to the Purdue Newsroom article. He served as a U.S. Army engineer on active duty, including in combat zones; he was a disaster recovery contractor in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma; and he is an accomplished author and researcher. With more than 25 years of higher education experience, Rapp has taught at Purdue since 2008, sharing his expertise in disaster recovery management, geotechnical engineering, construction equipment management, explosives engineering, instructional program management, economic and cost analysis, and engineered construction inspection.

“I am very thankful for this designation,” said Rapp. “It is the culmination of why I came to Purdue, for what I considered to be a very worthy purpose to devote my later professional years: To help better prepare construction contractors to restore and reconstruct the built environment and infrastructure after a disaster.”