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Pavement Research Center Builds on Strong Foundation

CEE’s Juan Pestana Tapped to Lead Center

New Pavement Research Center Director Juan Pestana knows how important a good foundation is. As his expertise lays in geoengineering and constitutive modeling of soil response, he is keen to provide a strong foundation for pavement and the University of California Pavement Research Center-Berkeley.

In addition to his faculty role in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Pestana has accepted the directorship position for the Pavement Research Center and will be splitting his time between the Berkeley campus and the center at the Richmond Field Station.

“I am very honored to have this opportunity to lead the Pavement Research Center,” says Pestana. “The research in this field is at an important junction, and I am excited to pair new developments in pavement materials and emerging sensor technology to improve existing and new infrastructure.”

Pestana’s background lies beneath roads, largely modeling soil behavior and shaping the base of roads, but he is excited about the interdisciplinary aspect of the field and the center. He looks to focus on all aspects of pavement and associated research to move the center and field forward.

“I have many ideas for the center, but my main priority is to have a smooth transition. I really look forward to listening to what people are working on,” says Pestana. “I want to make sure the center carries on the excellent work people are already doing.”

What attracted Pestana to taking the helm of the Pavement Research Center was the excitement behind creating new technology in the pavement field and working to improve existing and aging infrastructure. He says both areas are critical throughout California, the nation and the world.

While teaching and supervising students at Cal for the last 20 years, Pestana has continued to stay current on geoengineering and continues to work as a consultant and practice leader while continuing his research in numerical and constitutive modeling of geomaterials. Pestana has served as a program director in the area of geo environmental engineering and geohazard mitigation for the National Science Foundation. His work and research have given Pestana the opportunity to look at pavement with a regional, national and worldwide perspective.

He earned in doctorate in civil and environmental engineering and master’s degree in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Universidad Catolica Andres Bello in Venezuela.

Pestana follows Dr. James Signore, who led the center during the interim after Professor Carl Monismith stepped down a few years ago.