In West Lafayette, IN, resides a renowned university center of expertise in building construction and management. One focus of this department involves teaching, learning, mentoring and research in disaster restoration and reconstruction. This restoration concentration was established with great foresight and a multi-year financial commitment of more than $1 million to the university by leaders in the disaster restoration, remediation and reconstruction industry.
It’s a true win-win for education and industry, as future business and technology leaders learn disaster restoration science and management. The principal faculty of this Purdue University program is Associate Professor Randy R. Rapp, D.Mgt, PE and CCE. Professor Rapp holds a doctoral degree in management and is a licensed professional engineer.
The science of disaster restoration and remediation is one of CIRI’s core competencies. After Dr. Rapp and his recent Purdue student, now doctoral degree recipient, Major Christopher Baker, jointly presented at CIRI’s 2019 science symposium about the use of drones for post-disaster damage assessment, CIRI’s leadership determined that it simply must have Rapp’s expertise on CIRI’s Science Advisory Council (SAC). After a certain amount of arm-twisting, Dr. Rapp was nearly as delighted to serve as CIRI was to have him.
Dr. Rapp joins other distinguished CIRI SAC members including Dr. Gene Cole, Dr. Ralph Moon, John Richter, Dr. Greg Whiteley, Dr. Richard Shaughnessy, and Dr. Steven Spivak.
About Purdue’s Program
Purdue’s industry-leading, unique “Demolition and Disaster Restoration and Reconstruction Management” program is housed in the School of Construction Management (CM). It is now in its 11th year of academic operation. More than 100 students have elected such coursework, with most earning special credit on their diplomas. Some graduates now work for major restoration and demolition industry players. These studies focus on the needs and activities of contractors performing fire and water restoration and related disaster recovery or demolition work.
Purdue's program serves as a major contributor to industry professionalism and learning. It provides research and knowledge adding to the development of the RIA Certified Restorer® Body of Knowledge. Past or current graduate-level research includes disaster drones (UAS) and sensors, intermediate-term housing, preparing contractors for post-disaster performance, and employee burnout. Subjects include post-disaster operational integration of UAS, sensors, as well as artificial intelligence inputs and collaboration. All CM students now at least briefly study disaster recovery for their degrees. Recovery from a major electrical grid disaster and demolition of old military structures are recent topics. Managing these courses and disaster restoration activities in the midst of delivering conventional CM instruction keeps Dr. Rapp busy.
The Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI) began in 2005 as an idea shared by several visionary pioneers. CIRI is the only independent and impartial institute focused on cleaning and building maintenance research. Its purpose is to improve cleaning and restoration outcomes and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) for all indoor environments. CIRI is a 501.c.3 nonprofit scientific, educational and research institute recognized for its groundbreaking cleaning science and research programs. As such, CIRI serves the dual purpose of serving both the “public good” as well as the cleaning and restoration industries.
CIRI does not compete with existing trade organizations or associations. Rather it serves a unique, complementary role and seeks to work with leading industry groups such as ACI, AHE, APPA, BSCAI, CRI, IAQA, IEHA, IICRC, ISSA, NADCA and RIA.