Respected Connections Expert Passes Away

Geoffrey L. Kulak, PE, PhD, a professor emeritus at the University of Alberta and one of the world’s leading experts on the behavior of welded and bolted connections, passed away last week. Kulak also was a recognized authority on fatigue of fabricated steel members and member stability.

“Geoff was always willing to help the design and construction community and often gave lectures for AISC and others,” said Larry Kruth, AISC’s vice president of engineering and research. “And, of course, he was a prolific author of papers that helped to advance the state of the art of steel design and construction.” In 2016, he received an AISC Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his incredible lifetime of work and in 2000 he received an AISC Special Achievement Award for his contributions to the Second Edition of the Guide to Design Criteria for Bolted and Riveted Joints.

He was a professor of civil engineering for nearly 30 years at the University of Alberta. He has also been a longtime leader in the steel industry through active involvement in the Research Council on Structural Connections (RCSC) and AISC activities. For more than two decades he served as an officer of RCSC in several different positions, and he has written and presented numerous RCSC and AISC seminars on bolting that have been well received as both practical and understandable. He has also published extensively on the subject and is the author of AISC Design Guide 17: High Strength Bolts - A Primer for Structural Engineers.