Horst G. Brandes, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Hawaii, former president of the ASCE Hawaii Section, and an active supporter of ASCE's efforts to advance civil engineering, has died at 60.
His understanding of earth dam behavior and his expert witness work were critical to a damage survey conducted just days after the Kiholo Bay earthquake on Hawai’i Island in 2006. And following the Ka Loko Dam failure on Kaua’I, also in 2006, many saw Brandes as their go-to “soils engineer.”
Brandes, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, was a geotechnical engineer who actually specialized in ocean engineering. A dedicated ASCE member, his Society volunteer efforts focused on the Raise the Bar initiative (now Engineer Tomorrow), for which he represented ASCE at various professional boards.
Additionally, in 2016-18 he was a member of the Committee on the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge 3, and in 2015-17 was a member of the ASCE Committee on the Civil Engineering Technologist Body of Knowledge. He spent two years as president of ASCE’s Hawaii Section, 2002-2003.
Brandes’ areas of specialty and his research interests were in marine geotechnics, theoretical and numerical soil mechanics, seismic engineering, landslides, and geologic engineering. He wrote many articles and edited several journals, one of which (as associate editor) was the International Journal of Offshore and Polar Engineering. He was also a consultant with Applied Sciences LLC.
Brandes was a friend and mentor to many. He taught advanced soil mechanics and a dozen other courses over 23 years in the University of Hawaii's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
A gentle person and team player, he was nevertheless not shy about sharing his opinion, and students far and wide felt their appreciation for that.