During recent work-related travel in the Louisiana gulf coast, my colleagues and I observed the wreckage left behind by Hurricane Laura almost half a year ago – homes and businesses destroyed by one of the strongest hurricanes to ever make landfall in the state. It was disheartening to see how our neighbors in the gulf coast lost so much, but it was also encouraging to see a strong presence of the people who once lived in these homes going about their day in various stages of rebuilding. In that moment, I was reminded of our own natural disaster nearly four years ago that brought such destruction to our city and neighbors in the gulf coast. I remember witnessing and taking part in efforts to respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and doing what we as structural engineers know how to do best – recover our homes and businesses in a timely and efficient manner. My work-related travel reminded me of one of the things that I love most about the people of Houston Gulf Coast – our resilience.
Today, we are familiar with the use of the word resilience as a figurative way to describe individuals or groups of people who have the capacity to “bounce back” or “rebuild strong” after enduring tough times. As structural engineers, we are very familiar with the word’s original application to materials that can undergo stress and recover their shape and size after being deformed.
With 2021 already full steam ahead, I look forward to discussing with you ways in which the SEAoT board can help our chapter of structural engineers rebuild and bounce back as we deal with the continued uncertainty of COVID-19. We will be sending out a survey soon to hear from you how we as a board can best serve you. Until then, stay well, stay safe, and stay resilient.
Joshua White, Ph.D., P.E.
SEAoT Houston/Gulf Coast