Not a hasty decision
Chris Zweifel, now 41 and successfully operating ZZ Consulting, said that he always wanted to be an engineer. The question was what kind since engineering encompasses many branches.
“I couldn’t make up my mind – had a hard time figuring it out,” Chris admits. Finally, about the time he began working on his bachelor’s degree, he decided on Civil Engineering.
A new interest
With Civil Engineering as his choice, Chris continued his studies at Brigham Young University (BYU). His classes included thin shell concrete domes taught by Dr. Arnold Wilson, who for many years was Monolithic’s Senior Consulting Engineer.
What Chris learned from Dr. Wilson, who was also his Faculty Advisor, fascinated and challenged Chris. He made thin shells, including Monolithic Domes, one of his specialties.
To date, Chris has consulted on many Monolithic and Domes For The World projects. Asked to name a favorite, Chris said, ’That’s a tough one. I guess if I have to choose, I’ll say the Performing Arts Center at North Central Texas College (NCTC).’
What Chris likes best about that 130′ × 41′ Monolithic Dome that encompasses 25,600 square feet are its proscenium stage with a 36’ turntable, its generous walkways, and its clear-span seating area for 360.
Currently, Chris is working with South Industries Inc. of Menan, Idaho on a Monolithic Dome sulphur storage project.
Contributing to DFTW
Chris is also donating his time and skill as Consulting Engineer on DFTW’s project in Haiti. That involves rebuilding Haiti’s largest orphanage, leveled by the January 2010 earthquake, with permanent, disaster-resistant EcoShells.
Earlier this year, Chris traveled to Java as part of the DFTW team that did an Impact Assessment of New Ngelepen.
In May 2006, an earthquake destroyed the original village of Ngelepen. By April 2007, an extensive DFTW project had built 71 EcoShell homes plus a school, clinic, mosque and toilet/laundry facilities for New Ngelepen. In 2010 native residents sent photos of the EcoShells; they showed dark streaks that looked like cracks. Those photos helped prompt the decision to do an Impact Assessment.
“But,” Chris said, “it became a non-issue. What looked like cracks in the photos were dark green mold streaks. In that part of the world that mold covers just about everything. The EcoShells were just fine. They had nothing more serious than some hairline cracks. I was really impressed with them.”
Chris Zweifel (NCEES Registration 21961) carries a BS in Civil Engineering and an MS in Civil/Structural Engineering from Brigham Young University and is a registered Professional Engineer in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Additionally, Chris completes 15 hours of continuing professional development hours annually.
He is also Chairman of the American Concrete Institute Committee 334.
ZZ Consulting is a small engineering firm providing structural engineering design and service for quality projects including educational, office, industrial, government, medical, institutional and residential buildings. Many current projects include the specialty design of thin-shell concrete dome structures.