UF hurricane expert wins international award, state appointment

In Honors & Awards, News, Research & Innovation by Jen Ambrose

It’s been a busy hurricane season for Forrest Masters. In addition to his ongoing storm research, he’s had a cameo on the Weather Channel, received the highest honor from the International Association for Wind Engineering (IAWE), and was appointed by the governor of Florida to serve on a commission that assesses the risks involved with hurricanes.

“There are several other faculty members in civil [engineering] who serve on similar commissions for the state,” Masters said, after the governor appointed him to the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology. “I’m glad to help out, to protect the state from loss of property and loss of life in any way that I can.”

Masters, an associate professor of civil and coastal engineering, was also selected to receive the IAWE 2014 Junior Award, given annually to one wind engineer under the age of 40 who has established a record of outstanding achievements. Masters is recognized as an expert on developing unique and experimental methods to characterize ground level hurricane winds, identifying vulnerabilities in residential construction practices, and developing mitigation strategies.

“It truly is an honor to be selected for this award,” said Masters. “I’m incredibly grateful to my colleagues for recognizing the important work that’s being done by UF hazard researchers.”

Masters teaches in the Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment (ESSIE). He has received more than 25 grants from state, federal and private sources, including the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program. He reviews for multiple journals in structural engineering, meteorology and atmospheric sciences. He has published many articles, including several recently on the human perception of hazard risk, based on his collaborations in the social psychology field.

“Dr. Masters never fails to bring leadership, intellect, creativity and commitment to everything he does for our department and the university,” said Kirk Hatfield, director of ESSIE. “I’m not at all surprised to see him chosen for this award.”

In addition to the IAWE, Masters is active in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), where he serves on several committees. He is also chairing a major conference held by the American Association for Wind Engineering (AAWE) in Florida in 2017.

Masters will be presented with the award at the International Conference of Wind Engineering in a Porto Alegre, Brazil in June 2015.

To read more about Dr. Masters’ appointment to the state commission on hurricanes, visit the Gainesville Sun.