Randy Rapp, associate professor of construction management technology, has been appointed the Professor of Restoration and Reconstruction. The professorship was funded by industry restoration and reconstruction professionals, including the late Robert “Bob” Bonwell, owner of Advanced Restoration Supply in Indianapolis, to promote disaster restoration. The professorship recipient is expected to provide leadership in discovery, learning and engagement related to building restoration and reconstruction.
Rapp, who has taught in higher education since 1995 and has been with Purdue since 2008, has brought a wealth of experience and information to campus, thanks to his long and varied military and civilian careers in construction, engineering, and building restoration and reconstruction. His specialties include disaster recovery management, geotechnical engineering, construction equipment management, explosives engineering, instructional program management, economic and cost analysis, and engineered construction inspection.
Rapp served in active U.S. Army engineer troop unit leadership roles, including in an Iraq combat zone. He even interviewed for his Purdue professorship by phone while sheltering under a conference room table during a rocket attack. He served in management and technical disaster recovery contractor positions during Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma. Rapp also is a prolific author and researcher.
“Disaster restoration and reconstruction (DRR) is an emerging academic field that has been studied only sporadically and with a limited research scope and output,” said Željko “Z” Torbica, professor and head of the School of Construction Management Technology. “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.
“Hiring Dr. Rapp was an important milestone in that he has either initiated or has been involved in a robust array of activities, collectively uncommon anywhere else,” continued Torbica. “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.”
“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.
“This is not an end-point but a rededication to serving the purpose and people for which Bob Bonwell and many other industry giants generously funded this professorship,” Rapp continued. “It will now be with the School of Construction Management Technology long into the future. This should help keep attention on the big, essential role of construction contractors in disaster recovery.”