Dennis Mertz, Bridge Engineering Expert, Dies at 63

Dennis Mertz, PhD, professor of civil engineering and director of the Center for Innovative Bridge Engineering at the University of Delaware (UDel), passed away last month after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 63.

A professor at UDel for 25 years, Mertz dedicated a large portion of his professional career to advancing the state of the art in bridge engineering. The research he conducted, combined with his efforts on numerous technical committees, helped shape the industry into what it is today. His contributions were recognized earlier this year at the International Bridge Conference, where he was presented with the John A. Roebling Medal for his lifetime achievements in bridge engineering. He previously earned a Steel Bridge Forum Award in 1997, an Innovation in Steel Bridge Award from AISI in 1998, a Special Achievement Award from AISC in 2000, the Richard R. Torrens Award from ASCE in 2003 and the Richard S. Fountain Bridge Task Force Award from AISI and AASHTO in 2005. Mertz touched the lives of hundreds of students and directly shaped the career of many bridge engineers practicing today. He also mentored many young professors throughout the U.S., providing them with sound advice and guidance as they moved forward in their own academic careers.

“Dennis was a well-regarded leader and noteworthy contributor amongst his colleagues,” said Bill McEleney, NSBA’s managing director. “In addition to his superlative technical skills, his quick wit, upbeat personality and genuine friendship drew many to him. He was a great friend to many of us, and he will truly be missed.”

Mertz is survived by his wife, Madelyn, and one brother.