Cindy L. Menches, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, is an Assistant Professor of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Dr. Menches is investigating the damage assessment and estimating process and methods. Specifically, she is interested in the cognitive aspects of decision making among various expert damage assessors. This study is investigating how assessors (who are often engineers, architects, construction professionals or Red Cross volunteers) are influenced by the features of the facility and the damage they see when they perform the assessment and prepare a cost estimate. The ultimate purpose of the research is to understand which factors impact assessments.
Dr. Menches is also conducting research on the federal mitigation project development process, which is fundamentally different than the standard public project development process. She is defining a project development process that will address many of the limitations that might hinder more widespread implementation of mitigation projects. Dr. Menches is also developing and empirically testing a “fit” theory of mitigation action execution. At the core of the theory is the assertion that fitting appropriate mitigation actions to (1) the expected damage and (2) the mitigation capacity of the community will improve the likelihood that the community will take action to execute the mitigation measures.
Dr. Menches has a strong background in construction management that includes military, industry, and academic experience. She has conducted research for the Construction Industry Institute, the Foundation for Electrical Construction, and the Texas Department of Transportation. Prior to joining the faculty at the Illinois Institute of Technology, she was a professor at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Menches completed nine years as a civil engineer/project manager in the U.S. Air Force followed by five years in private industry as a project manager. She worked as the owner’s representative as well as the project manager and has worked on a wide variety of projects. She is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers Committee on Critical Infrastructure.