Scott Shuler retires after impressive career

Scott ShulerScott Shuler, Associate Professor in the Department of Construction Management, retired at the end of the spring semester after 17 years at CSU. His career has spanned 49 years focusing on research in asphalt pavement design, construction and preservation, working for both academic and industry organizations.

Shuler began his career as an asphalt pavement research engineer while studying civil engineering at Purdue University. Having completed both his undergrad and graduate degrees in civil engineering at Purdue, Shuler relocated to Texas to pursue his Ph.D. in civil engineering at Texas A&M.

Shuler is a professional registered engineer for the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and Florida. He has served as the Director of Research for the Asphalt Institute, Lexington, KY, and as the Executive Director of the Colorado Asphalt & Paving Association in Englewood, CO. Shuler has also served as a research engineer at the University of New Mexico, and as an assistant research engineer at both Texas A&M, and the University of New Mexico. He began his academic career at CSU in the mid-90s, as an adjunct professor, later moving into the role of associate professor.

During his tenure as Director of Research for the Asphalt Institute, the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) was beginning. This $50 million, five year research program was the largest research program ever conducted for asphalt pavements. Six contracts were awarded. The Asphalt Institute was asked to develop the asphalt mixture design for SHRP. Shuler managed this project as the Director of Research. The result of this work is called Superpave, and has been the method used to design asphalt paving mixtures in the US and Canada since 1992. Many other countries are beginning to use this design method.

After SHRP was completed Shuler came to Colorado as the new director of the Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association (CAPA). Shuler helped Colorado DOT develop performance specifications like the smoothness and long-term warranty specifications. He also recognized the need for trained quality control and quality assurance technicians, and developed the technician certification program that is still being used today.

However, the one thing missing, from Shuler’s perspective, was the opportunity to spread the asphalt word to a new generation. That opportunity presented itself in 2002 when the head of the Department of Construction Management at CSU asked Shuler, an adjunct professor, if he knew anyone, who might be interested in starting a heavy civil curriculum. Shuler immediately raised his hand. This was something he had always wanted to do. The tenure track position came with a space in the Industrial Sciences Building for constructing an asphalt laboratory. The job entailed developing courses and bringing in research funds. The rest, as they say, is history.

During his time in the department Shuler taught several courses including Asphalt Pavement Materials and Construction, Introduction to Road Construction, Construction Equipment and Methods, and Soils Engineering for Construction Managers. He also served for several years as the faculty coach of the Heavy Civil competition team and as faculty advisor to the Colorado Contractors Association student chapter.

Shuler is the author or co-author of over two hundred refereed journal and conference scholarly papers presented at conferences in eight countries. Sponsors of his research include the National Academies of Sciences, Federal Highway Administration, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and the Departments of Transportation of Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

At the national level, he has served on committees of the Transportation Research Board. The undergraduate course, in asphalt pavement construction and rehabilitation that Shuler developed while at CSU, has provided a needed resource for anyone desiring to work in roadway construction and maintenance, and has served both students of construction management and civil engineering.

The Department of Construction Management is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.