Krizek Retires After 59 Years of Teaching

Krizek served as founding director for Northwestern Engineering's MPM and EMDC programs.

Raymond Krizek retired from Northwestern Engineering in August, but his impact on the construction and civil engineering fields will be felt for decades to come.

Krizek spent the past 59 years teaching at McCormick. During that time, he taught hundreds of graduate students and served as adviser to more than 60 PhDs, many of whom went on to become influential leaders all over the world. He also founded and directed the school's Master of Science in Project Management (MPM) and Master of Science in Executive Management for Design and Construction (EMDC) programs.
Raymond J. Krizek
"As founding director of both the MPM and EMDC programs, past chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and a scholar recognized for his research as a member of the National Academy of Engineering, Ray leaves a significant legacy of excellence at Northwestern," McCormick School of Engineering Dean Julio M. Ottino said. "We are grateful for his immense contributions to our school.”

Krizek, who received his Bachelor of Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, MS from the University of Maryland, and PhD in civil engineering from Northwestern, as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Cantabria in Spain, served as the chair of Northwestern Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 1980 to 1992.

His research and collaborations led to environmentally improved methods for the disposal of large-volume industrial waste slurries, defining the characteristics of microfine cement grouts and the criteria for their use, quantifying relationships between clay particle arrangements and soil properties, and developing a more economical design for concrete pipe.

He was president of the Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and was elected to both the US National Academy of Engineering and the Spanish Royal Academy of Engineering.

The first MPM courses were offered in 1989 and the program officially launched in 1994 with a focus on educating students to be project management leaders for complex civil engineering projects. MPM was designed to combine the essential components of civil engineering design with the functional concepts of business management and behavioral science.

“For many years I was interested in developing a professionally oriented program of graduate study that utilized the talents of blue-ribbon practitioners who could bring a wealth of real world experience and insightful war stories into the classroom to supplement the largely theoretical concepts students had been exposed to," Krizek said. "Aided by the very capable talents of my colleague, Ahmad Hadavi, the MPM program was born."

Adhamina Rodriguez (MPM '99) came to Northwestern because of the depth and flexibility of the MPM curriculum, the program's distinguished faculty, its strong alumni network, and the job opportunities for which she thought she'd be better qualified. She spent 17 years as project manager and director of sustainability for a large general contractor in San Francisco before she founded and became CEO of her own company, AR Green Consulting.

She credits MPM — and Krizek — with helping her get where she is today.

"I discovered how I can help (reverse the global warming trend) at Northwestern, and for that, I am forever grateful," Rogriguez said. "Professor Krizek was an invaluable resource and he helped me channel my interests and tailor the MPM curriculum to fit my needs. More than 20 years later, he and I still keep in touch."

Building off of the success of MPM, Krizek led the creation of EMDC in 2012. The goal was to offer a flexible executive program that accommodated more advanced students who worked full time. The program is taught online by a faculty of practicing professionals.

The result is an interactive melding of minds that prepares senior professionals for executive roles in the design and construction industries.

“The EMDC program offered the perfect flexibility to work full time and also earn a MS degree,” Ashlee Cohen (EMDC '23) said. “The classes start at 4:30 p.m. for me, which allows me to finish by dinner and spend time with my family. I also love that all of my classmates are in the A/E/C industry."

For many, the program has been a transformational experience.

“This program provides a holistic perspective in every part of your executive-level work,” said Asha Singh (EMDC '22). “The EMDC curriculum is well designed to enhance the knowledge, skills, and strategy that helps create a better leader who is looking to take their work and business to the next level in the construction industry.”

Krizek is the editor of 10 books and published more than 300 articles in journals and proceedings. In 2020 he received the ASCE Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) award for his work furthering civil engineering education. The following year he was named to the BuiltWorlds list of Maverick Awards winners for his innovative approach to education.

With Krizek's retirement, Shelley Finnigan was appointed director of both the MPM and EMDC programs in September. Finnigan has more than 15 years of experience in the design and construction industry with an emphasis on structural design, project management, marketing, and business development.

"Shelley’s commitment to innovation, passion for construction management, and extensive network made her an ideal candidate," Ottino said. "We are delighted to have her lead MPM and EMDC into the future.”

McCormick News Article