Professor Sergio F. Breña, the associate department head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department, was honored as a new Fellow by the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) at the organization’s May of 2021 convention. He has also received the 2019 PCI Distinguished Educator Award, the 2011 PCI Young Educator Award, is past chair of the PCI Student Education Committee, and currently serves as a voting member of the PCI Student Education Committee, PCI Design Handbook Committee, and the PCI Design Specification Committee.
Breña received the PCI’s Daniel P. Jenny Research Fellowship from 2009 to 2011. He is also a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute (ACI), where he also serves as voting member of various technical and code committees.
As John Tobiason, the CEE department head, commented, “The recognition as a Fellow in PCI is very well deserved, reflecting Dr. Breña’s stature in the field of reinforced concrete. This technical expertise achievement complements Dr. Breña’s excellent contributions in teaching and service to the CEE department, the college, and UMass Amherst overall. I join the CEE faculty in congratulating Professor Breña on this recognition.”
Breña has over 25 years of experience in laboratory and field testing of structures and structural systems. Breña’s research interests include design and behavior of reinforced and prestressed concrete structures, use of fiber-reinforced materials in civil infrastructure applications, and field performance of bridges and buildings.
Additionally, Breña has more than six years of structural design experience in projects involving seismic rehabilitation of existing buildings and structural design of underground structures and tunnel liners, among others.
Breña’s recent projects include investigations on the use of fiber-reinforced composites to strengthen existing reinforced concrete beams and columns, design and behavior of structural concrete elements using strut-and-tie models, earthquake performance of coupling beams, field performance of integral abutment bridges, live-load testing of existing bridges, identification of best practices for construction of concrete sidewalks, and improved rating procedures for deteriorated concrete and steel bridges.
After the magnitude 8.9 earthquake in Maule, Chile, in 2010, Breña was selected for the American Society of Civil Engineers/Structural Engineering Institute reconnaissance team that traveled to the area affected by this earthquake to document the performance of rehabilitated structures. He was also a member of the ACI’s reconnaissance team that travelled to Mexico City after the magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Puebla, Mexico, in 2017.
In addition, Breña has served as a visiting professor at: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso, Department of Civil Engineering, in Chile; and at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, in Switzerland.
Breña earned his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and B.S. degree from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.
Founded in 1954, the PCI is the technical institute and trade association for the precast/prestressed concrete structures industry. The PCI calls itself “a unique organization of producers, suppliers, and professionals. PCI is dedicated to fostering greater understanding of the design and use of precast and prestressed concrete.” (July 2021)