Eugene Zwoyer, former ASCE executive director from 1972 through 1982, longtime civil engineering practitioner and instructor, and founding director of the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineering Research Facility, has died. He was 96.
At the height of his consulting career, in 1972 he decided to move his family to New York City, a good idea considering his plans to step up service to the engineering profession. A three-year stint as ASCE director was to become 10 years as executive director and chief operating officer. For his efforts, Engineering News-Record honored him in 1980 as “One Who Served the Best Interests of the Construction Industry.” This was followed by two years as president and CEO of the American Association of Engineering Societies, and four years as vice president of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations.
Zwoyer, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, after serving in the Navy, marrying Dorothy Seward, and earning his doctorate from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, took on teaching, research, and practice all at about the same time. He held every rank at the University of New Mexico from instructor through research professor of civil engineering from 1948 to 1971, and taught graduate and undergraduate courses in structural design, soil mechanics, and engineering mechanics. His published work includes the fields of prestressed concrete, ultimate strength behavior of structural members, and the response of structures to blast loadings.
For nine years he was director of the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineering Research Facility in Albuquerque, a government contractor he organized while at UNM. Part of its primary mission was studying the effects of nuclear weapons on underground structures.
His own firm – Eugene Zwoyer, Consulting Engineer – was extremely active from 1954 to 1971 and again from 1990 to 1996. Zwoyer completed more than 600 projects on the structural design of heavy manufacturing facilities, multistory buildings, blast and tornado-resistant buildings, large stadiums, bridges, and other structures. He consulted extensively with the Rand Corporation and later served as an expert forensic engineering witness in cases involving structural failure. Still later, he developed management and organizational structure for corporate clients.
Zwoyer served as T.Y. Lin International’s executive vice president, director, and president from 1984 to 1989, and helped negotiate the sale of the company.
Among many honors, he received the Outstanding Engineer award from the New Mexico Society for Professional Engineers, ASCE’s Can-Am Civil Engineering Amity Award in 1988, and Outstanding Professional Contributions & Leadership award from the University of New Mexico in 1989. He was also a member of Who’s Who in America.
Zwoyer retired in 1992 and lived with his wife in California.