Michael O'Rourke received his BSCE degree in the late 1960s from IIT and his Masters and Ph.D. from Northwestern in the early 1970s. He has been on the Civil Engineering faculty at Rensselaer for the past 40 years and has been involved in snow load research for most of his years at Rensselaer.

His research was sponsored by the U.S. Army Cold Region Research and Engineering Lab, the National Bureau of Standards, the National Science Foundation and the Metal Building Manufacturers Association, among others. His research has resulted in roughly four dozen snow-related publications including journal papers and conference proceedings.

Dr. O'Rourke has been a member of the ASCE 7 Snow and Rain Loads Committee since 1978 and its chair since 1997.