An Engineer Looking for Trouble –
Forty Years Solving Problems in the Built World
February 23, 2017

William Nugent
President and CEO,
Wiss, Janey, Elstner Associates, Inc.

After graduating from Notre Dame in 1973, William Nugent began his professional career as a structural design engineer. Two years later, he returned to graduate school and earned a Master of Science degree in structural engineering. Mr. Nugent’s presentation will detail how a broken window led him from graduate school to a career in engineering problem solving that he could never have imagined. Specifically, he will document some of the most interesting projects he has been involved with across forty years with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, a consulting firm whose primary business is solving structural, architectural, and materials problems in all types of structures. His examples will include structural collapses, earthquake damage assessments and retrofits, architectural systems failures, and an aircraft disaster investigation.

Mr. Nugent received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1973 and a Master of Science degree in Structural Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1977. Between his studies at Notre Dame and the University of Illinois, Mr. Nugent was employed as a structural design engineer at Sargent & Lundy Engineers in Chicago and as a land surveyor at George Reiter Associates in Joliet, Illinois. Following graduate school, Mr. Nugent joined Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates (WJE) in Northbrook, Illinois as a junior structural engineer. Across time, he advanced to become a senior principal level structural engineer with WJE, and in 1998, he was elected the firm’s president and chief executive officer.  At WJE, Mr. Nugent has led or participated in more than 800 projects. His experience includes investigation of structural failures, field and laboratory testing and monitoring of structural components, seismic damage assessment and retrofit design, and numerous assignments involving building facades, curtain walls, and glass. Mr. Nugent is a licensed engineer in more than forty states. He has authored numerous technical reports dealing with a variety of structural and materials problems. He has also written papers and presented lectures on structural failures, seismic performance, and cladding systems problems and repair techniques.