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Benjamin W. Schafer

BENJAMIN W. SCHAFER, Ph.D., is the Willard and Lillian Hackerman Chair in the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. He is one of the world’s leading experts on structures designed from cold-formed steel.

As director of the Cold-Formed Steel Research Consortium, Schafer utilizes an array of experimental and computational tools to increase the seismic safety of buildings that use lightweight cold-formed steel (CFS) for the primary beams and columns. The Consortium also oversees the Steel Diaphragm Innovation Initiative, which is dedicated to advancing the seismic performance of steel floor and roof diaphragms through innovation in application, modeling, and design.

Schafer developed the Direct Strength Method of design, which is an internationally approved method for predicting the strength of cold-formed steel building components, and led the first full-scale seismic tests on a CFS-framed building. His research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, American Iron and Steel Institute, and United States Gypsum Corporation. He has authored more than 100 research articles.

Schafer currently serves on the AISI and AISC specification committees, which create the nation’s standards for cold-formed and hot-rolled steel structures, respectively. He was previously Chair of the Structural Stability Research Council and President of the Cold-Formed Steel Engineers Institute. In addition to his work in academia, Schafer provides engineering consulting and is Vice President of NBM Technologies. He is also North American Editor of the journal Thin-Walled Structures.

His awards include an NSF CAREER award, AISC Milek Fellowship, and three awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers: the Shortridge Hardesty Award, Huber Research Prize, and Collingwood Prize. He was also appointed Swirnow Family Faculty Scholar from 2008 to 2014.

Schafer received his BSE in civil engineering from the University of Iowa in 1993 and MS and PhD degrees in structural engineering from Cornell University in 1994 and 1997, respectively. From 1997-98, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, he worked as a senior engineer at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. in Waltham, Massachusetts. Schafer previously served as chair of the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering.