Mr. Kurt Strobel originally joined CPP in 2007 and rejoined in 2021 after nearly six years with GERB Vibration Control Systems. Kurt is a senior technical leader for structural services with focus on wind-induced structural dynamics and measurement and control of vibration. Read Kurt’s full bio here.
At CPP, Kurt has performed structural dynamic analyses on a variety of structures, including roofs, canopies, launch vehicles, transmission line towers, solar collectors, and high-rise buildings with heights from 80 meters to nearly 500 meters. Kurt has also designed supplemental damping systems and structural modifications to ensure building occupant comfort and to reduce structural fatigue on cables and various slender structures. He has experience with the design of tuned mass, tuned liquid sloshing, visco-elastic, and chain dampers
Below, read a Q & A session with Kurt about his career, his favorite projects, and what excites him about his new role.
1. How were you introduced to the Wind Engineering industry?
My path to Wind Engineering was unusual compared to many of my colleagues. Prior to working at CPP, I majored in Physics in college with a focus on electrodynamics, studied energy sciences (heat transfer, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics) during graduate work in Mechanical Engineering and then worked for ten years as a mechanical engineer on high-power electronics. Fortune had it that CPP was looking for an engineer to work on supplemental damping systems at the same time that I was considering a career change. Somehow, I convinced CPP that I was the right person for the job and, as they say, the rest was history.
2. In your career, what is your favorite structure or project you that you have been involved in?
I have good and varied memories from a lot of different structures, so I can’t pick a single favorite. The one that was perhaps most foundational in my career was the San Ysidro Border Station. This was a cable-suspended canopy that CPP worked on with Magnusson Klemencic Associates. The structure is not well-recognized, as it’s not in a major city and isn’t remarkable in size. The reason I remember this one is because it taught me an awful lot about wind-induced structural dynamics.
3. You are noted for your work with “super tall” buildings. What is the tallest building or structure you’ve ever been involved in creating? And, what is the highest you’ve ever been off the ground? Airplanes excluded!
I’ve been involved with wind engineering and supplemental damping systems for several super tall towers (> 300 m tall). The tallest building that I had, what I consider to be, significant involvement on is the Merdeka PNB118 tower in Kuala Lumpur. That tower is structurally topped out at 2,113 ft (644 m).
I’ve been very near the very top of numerous towers in NYC during Tuned Mass Damper (TMD) installation and commissioning. Among these, the highest was about 1,250 ft (380 m) above sea level. I’ve had the opportunity to visit the Atmosphere in Burj Khalifa, which is at 1,450 ft (442 m) and the upper observation deck of the Shanghai World Financial Center, which is at 1,555 ft (474 m). That’s the highest I’ve been in a building.
From an elevation standpoint, I’ve been on top of a few “14’ers” in Colorado, including riding a bike to the parking area 100 ft shy of the top of Mt. Evans and rock climbing the east face of Longs Peak. I haven’t made a ski descent from the summit of any 14’ers but have from numerous peaks over 12,000 ft and one that is just shy of 13,000 ft.
4. What do you feel is the biggest strength of CPP Wind right now?
CPP has always been able to attract really smart folks, but in the past few years, I think we’ve taken it to another level. Our biggest strength is our growing depth and breadth of experience.
5. What strengths do you bring to CPP?
I like to think I have a few, but one that is unique at CPP is my experience with Tuned Mass Dampers (TMDs). In October 2015, I left CPP to work for GERB Vibration Control Systems. With GERB, my focus was on the application of TMDs to tall buildings, bridges, floors, stairs, etc. I learned a lot about vibration control using TMDs, and TMD installation and commissioning. I also learned a lot about vibration measurements and structural characterization. Having rejoined CPP in July 2021, I hope that my experience at GERB further broadens the services we can confidently offer to our clients.
6. What is it about this position that EXCITES you?
I’m excited about the continued opportunity to consult on and teach about subjects that really interest me. I have the chance to work with the best architects and engineers in the world and to help our younger engineers learn about structural dynamics, vibration prediction and measurement, and supplemental damping systems.
7. How important is team building?
Very important. Trust amongst team members is probably the most vital characteristic of a highly functional team. Team building develops trust among team members.
8. What’s your most-used productivity hack?
It may sound paradoxical, but I find that the more I can enjoy my time away from work, the more energy and productivity I can bring to the office.
9. What was your first paying job?
Cooking and serving food at the Kutztown Folk Festival at age 14. Interestingly, most of my paying jobs prior to starting my professional career were in kitchens. I worked at various levels from dishwasher to assistant chef. I still like to cook but don’t get paid for it anymore!
10. While working, do you listen to music, podcasts, or sit in complete silence?
Generally, I work without music. Occasionally, I’ll listen to music. Funk, jazz, rock, bluegrass, just depends on my mood.
Please join us in welcoming Kurt back to the CPP Wind team!
Kurt may be reached at:
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