Growing up, Dr. Wael Zatar watched his father work as a civil engineer and endeavored to follow his example. He was intrigued by his work as his father would leave the house at different times of the day to monitor the various building projects he managed. Following in his father’s footsteps, he pursued the field by obtaining a Bachelor in Civil Engineering from Cairo University in 1990. He received an MSCE from the institution in 1994, and a Deng from Saitama University in 1999. Upon earning a bachelor’s degree, Dr. Zatar officially began his career, serving as a design engineer for Dars Consultant and Engineers and then for Ferrometalco International Company. He was promoted to a senior design engineer at Ferrometalco and remained here until 1996. After graduating and working in the field for about six years, Dr. Zatar felt he was satisfied with achieving his desired career. He decided he would become a teacher and share his passion and knowledge with other engineers and aspiring engineers. He is a firm believer of innovation in modern society to better society, ensure safety and sustain stability.
While matriculating with a doctorate degree at Saitama University, Dr. Zatar began working as a research assistant in the Department of Civil Engineering at the institution. He then spent the next three years as a teaching assistant, and then as a faculty fellow. From 2001 to 2003, Dr. Zatar worked as a visiting professor at the University of Kentucky. It was then he decided to make the move to the United States to take on more permanent faculty positions. Since 2004, he has served as a professor of civil engineering at the West Virginia University Institute of Technology. He taught at Marshall University as a professor from 2006 to 2011, and in 2011 became a dean at the institution.
Dr. Zatar’s achievements include the invention of role of prestressing concrete bridge piers in mitigation of seismic damage; development of health monitoring of structures; being the first to strengthen viaduct structures for enhanced seismic behavior; being the first to include inelastic behavior of girders of viaduct structures; being the first to strut and tie models for continuous concrete structures; research in seismic ranking of bridges in the US; research in application of fiber-reinforced polymers to bridges; research in ductile behavior of structures; research in evaluation of infrastructures in seismic regions; and the development of controlled cracking of bridge decks.
Dr. Zatar considers his career highlight thus far as receiving the precast prestressed concrete award. It’s the highest award given by the organization and it is only given once a year to individuals across the world. Out of all his achievements, meeting his wife and having his children have been the greatest highlights of his life.