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College christens concrete materials lab in memory of alumnus

Michael Seidel (dad) Lindsay Bosworth (sister) Kate Eisel (sister) Terri Seidel (mom) cut the ribbon.

Michael Seidel (father), Lindsay Bosworth (sister), Kate Eisel (sister), and Terri Seidel (mother) cut the ribbon to officially christen the Joshua M. Seidel Advanced Concrete Materials Laboratory in Lafferre Hall. Photos by Jennifer Hollis.

Josh Seidel was an impeccable engineer and entrepreneur — a sterling example of the type of engineering leader that has called the University of Missouri College of Engineering home over the decades. The foundation set up in his memory wanted to continue that tradition in his honor, helping christen the Joshua M. Seidel Advanced Concrete Materials Laboratory in a ceremony held on Feb. 17 in Lafferre Hall.

The Josh Seidel Memorial Foundation provided the generous support, allowing for renovation of existing laboratory space and the purchase of equipment to provide the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department with a state-of-the-art experiential learning space. The foundation was formed to honor the memory of Seidel, a 2001 MU mechanical engineering alumnus who passed away in 2013. Its goal is to support students seeking to build skills in engineering, science and other technical realms, as well as encourage entrepreneurship.

“I want the students who walk into this lab to think, ‘Who was Josh Seidel? What did he stand for, and what must he have done to have this named after him?’” said B.J. Keane, foundation secretary and MU civil engineering alumnus. “And in the days of smartphones, we hope some of those students take a couple of seconds to Google Josh. If they do, they’ll come across the foundation’s website. If they’re lucky, they’ll read and remember everything there is to know about Josh. If nothing else, we hope they take away our motto, the motto Josh lived his life by. Work hard, play hard and help others.”

BJ Keane addresses the audience from behind a podium.

“I want the students who walk into this lab to think, ‘Who was Josh Seidel? What did he stand for, and what must he have done to have this named after him?’” said B.J. Keane, Josh Seidel Memorial Foundation secretary and MU civil engineering alumnus.

Experiential learning is key to a quality engineering education, and the Joshua M. Seidel Advanced Concrete Materials Laboratory houses a bevy of equipment to boost hands-on learning.

“The Joshua M. Seidel Advanced Concrete Materials Laboratory is the latest example of just how critical private support is to this mission,” MU Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa said. “This support not only helps the College, which benefits from cutting-edge educational and research resources, but also the community and the state. In this laboratory, students and faculty will work on solving the next great challenges in materials, and through this materials research, they will solve pressing infrastructure challenges.”

The cutting-edge resources provided by the Josh Seidel Memorial Foundation will allow students to learn skills including:

  • Aggregate characterization
  • Concrete, high-performance concrete (HPC) and fiber-reinforced concrete (FMC) mix designs
  • Mixing and measuring fresh concrete properties
  • Open- and closed-loop compression testing
  • FRC and plain concrete flexural toughness testing
  • Freeze-thaw characteristics of concrete, HPC and FPC using ultrasonic measurements
  • Shear and flexural failure in reinforced concrete beams

“I have to say, the students are so excited to be in this new space with new equipment learning about concrete materials,” Associate Professor of civil and environmental engineering Sarah Orton said.

Private support is critical to providing the kind of improved facilities MU Engineering students will use to thrive. The Josh Seidel Memorial Foundation’s generosity will ensure that Seidel’s memory will live on through the lab that bears his name, a lab that will help train countless young engineers for successful careers.