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Speaker detail

  • William J. O’Brien, PE, PhD
  • Professor & Phil M. Ferguson Centennial Teaching Fellow, Associate Chair for Architectural Engineering
  • The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. William J. O’Brien focuses his professional efforts on improving collaboration and coordination among firms in the design and construction industry. Dr. O’Brien is an expert on construction supply chain management and electronic collaboration, where he conducts research, teaches and consults on both systems design and implementation issues. recently, his research on Advanced Work Packaging was featured in a cover story by engineering news- record, designated a Best Practice by the Construction Industry Institute, and has been adopted as a corporate execution standard by major owner operators such as ExxonMobil. He was the lead editor on the widely referenced Construction Supply Chain Management Handbook (CRC Press). His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, national Institute of Standards and Technology, Construction Industry Institute, Fiatech and the Texas Department of Transportation. He is the author or co-author of over 100 journal articles, book chapters, and technical reports. Dr. O’Brien is currently a Professor and the Phil M. Ferguson Centennial Teaching fellow in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and environmental engineering in the Cockrell School of engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. From 1999-2004 he was a faculty member at the University of Florida (Gainesville). As a teacher, Dr. O’Brien has actively sought to deploy technology in innovative ways. While at Florida, he co-taught a “Collaborative Design Processes” class with faculty from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At Texas, he has sought to introduce leading mobile computing and visualization software to the classroom. These efforts were recognized by a 2008 University of Texas Innovative Instructional Technology Program (IITAP) Gold Award. His research has been recognized by the Fiatech consortium, where he was the recipient of 2007 and 2011 CETI Awards in the Technology and Knowledge-Enabled Workforce category, and the 2015 STAR Award.

In 2012, Dr. O’Brien received the outstanding researcher Award from the Construction Industry Institute. Dr. O’Brien is emeritus editor for the journal Advanced Engineering Informatics and a Specialty editor for the ASCE Journal of Computing in Civil engineering. He currently serves as Associate Chair for Architectural engineering in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and environmental engineering. He led the Construction Engineering and Project Management program as Area Coordinator from 2011-2017 and was Transition Manager (Interim Director) of the Fiatech Industry Consortium from 2016-2017. Prior to returning to academia, Dr. O’Brien led product development and planning efforts at Collaborative Structures, a Boston based Internet start-up focused on serving the construction industry. Dr. O’Brien was the first employee of Collaborative Structures in 1996 and was Vice President for Marketing and Product Development when he left the firm in 1998.