Bryan A. Erler
Senior Vice President and Owner
Sargent & Lundy
BSCE '69, MSCE '70

[Bryan A. Erler]

For his outstanding career as a structural engineer and leader in the energy-conversion industry, and for his service to Purdue University, the Schools of Engineering are proud to present the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award to Bryan A. Erler.

On civil engineering at Purdue

The greatest thing about Purdue was that the faculty in the School of Civil Engineering supported me tremendously. They were wonderful teachers, the kind of people who knew what students needed to learn in order to have a successful career in engineering. My greatest accomplishment was going from an average undergraduate to a graduate student in structural engineering. It was the CE faculty that got me into grad school and got me the assistantship-and getting the master's degree was the turning point for me. I give credit to Professors Martin Gutzwiller, Bob Lee, Doug Sutton, and John Goldberg. The structural engineering staff gave me the technical and analytical strength that made a difference in my career.

On his career path

Erler Old Picture I'm kind of an odd bird: I've worked for only one company. When I left Purdue, I thought I might work with my dad, who had his own engineering company and designed buildings. But because I had a graduate degree and there was a need for high-powered analytical work in the power industry, I went with Sargent & Lundy, for what I thought would be only a couple of years. It was a chance for me to apply the sophisticated technical skills that I might not have been able to in the building-design field. The power industry was growing in the early 1970s, and I had an exciting opportunity to work on nuclear and fossil power plants and grow in the organization. I moved up rapidly, and I've been a partner in the company for 14 years now.

On his professional involvements

The most significant professional work I've been involved in through the years, outside of Sargent & Lundy, is to participate in developing various national standards for nuclear power plants. I chaired the Joint ASME [American Society of Mechanical Engineers] and ACI [American Concrete Institute] Committee on Concrete Pressure Vessels for Nuclear Applications. We set standards for the world for nuclear containment design. I've also been involved in the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois. As president of that group, I created a political action committee [SEPAC] to be actively involved in the engineering laws in the state of Illinois. I also wanted to expand our philanthropic activities, so we set up the Structural Engineers Foundation for scholarships and lecture series. They also supported the Goldberg Lecture Series in the School of Civil Engineering at Purdue this past fall.

On issues that concern him today

I would like to see engineers more involved in leadership at the state and national levels. We're comfortable in our zone of doing engineering, but we could contribute significantly to the running of our country. It's something that we in the profession should be more actively involved in. Engineers should improve the interaction between practitioners and engineering schools. More universities should follow the example of Purdue, and of the School of Civil Engineering in particular, by bringing experienced engineers into the classroom. The biggest challenges in the electric power industry are the environmental issues and the need to produce the amount of electricity necessary for strong economic growth. What's the right technology to produce the power? There are pollution issues with coal and other fossil fuels. With nuclear energy, there's a perception of safety issues by the public. Nuclear energy is clearly one of the fuel sources that can drive the global economy and improve the environment.

On change

There's constant change, and it's more rapid these days. Sargent & Lundy applies the latest technology to the engineering support of producing electric power and keeping the water and air clean. The deregulation of the electric power industry drives tremendous change in terms of how we're going to produce power, who owns power plants, and who will be the engineers. That change requires Sargent & Lundy to be a step ahead of the game in order to provide the leadership necessary to improve power plants.

1996- :
Senior Vice President and Project Director. Manage Sargent & Lundy's nuclear and fossil services for electric utilities.
Civil Engineering Alumnus Achievement Award, Purdue.
Senior Vice President and Project Director for four coal-fired power stations in China.
Partner and Manager, PD&E Department. Responsible for all physical design, including electric, piping, and structural designs.
Partner and Manager, Structural Department.
President, Structural Engineers Association of Illinois.
Chairman, Joint ASME/ACI Technical Committee on Concrete Pressure Components for Nuclear Applications. Led the development of national standard for design requirements of reinforced and prestressed pressure vessels and containments for nuclear power plants.
Partner and Assistant Manager, Structural Department.
Appointed partner of firm.
Structural Design Director.
Appointed associate of firm.
Head, Structural Design and Drafting.
Chief Structural Engineering Specialist.
Assistant Chief/Structural Engineering Specialist.
Supervisor, Special Structures Section.
Structural Engineer, Sargent & Lundy.

BSCE '69, MSCE '70, Purdue.