Alumni Profile: Keith Martin
BS Civil/Structural Engineering, 2002
MS Civil/Structural Engineering, 2004
Occupation: Structural Engineer
Research Interest: Developing high-performance shear wall and testing capabilities
Advisors: Bill Davids and Dr. Habib Dagher
Keith Martin is a University of Maine alumni from Caribou, Maine. During his time at UMaine, he got his Bachelor degree in 2002 with a Masters in Civil and Structural Engineering in 2004. When joining the Tau Beta Pi Honor Society, Keith met one of his advisors, Dr. Habib Dagher. Dagher asked him why he wasn’t working at the Center and without any good reason to give, Keith joined the Center’s staff.
Keith describes his time at the Center as a place where he always enjoyed himself, partially because he was able to use almost every piece of equipment the labs had. Keith especially liked milling dried lumber, making his own glulam, designing and building reaction frames, and “destroying things.” Keith even wrote his own personal slogan on the side of his hard hat: “Think It, Build It, Break It… Repeat as Necessary.”
During his time at the Center, Keith was able to acquire numerous skills; some of which help him with everyday tasks, and some of which have helped him pursue his career. He got exposure to working in a professional office environment as well as working in a fully-fledged and interactive laboratory. Keith gained valuable experience by calibrating equipment, mixing epoxy, and pounding nails. When he was asked if he would recommend the Center to engineering students, Keith said, “Absolutely.” He elaborated with the following:
“Start with work study as soon as you can as an undergraduate. You will gain valuable experience by doing just about anything at the Center. . . It’s simultaneous exposure to an office, research center, and industrial environment. Small things like basic safety awareness, project controls, how to use a photocopier, where to save your data so others can find it, is experience we take for granted but you will use on day one of your first job.”
Keith now works at Kleinschmidt Associates, an engineering consulting firm. There he leads a team of scientists, engineers, and experts as they strive to find solutions for mitigating the effects hydropower has on the environment. One of these solutions is designing fishways that allow endangered fish species to maneuver through dams.
“We solve problems no one knows what to do with and this is where the self-discipline and problem-solving confidence I learned at the Center are important,” Keith explained.
Keith’s work is now starting to shift towards Atlantic Canada and their use of hydroelectricity. He and his team are currently looking into minimizing the ecosystem impacts of renewable power in this area of Canada.