Jesus M. de la Garza of Blacksburg, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, has been appointed by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as director of the Information Technology and Infrastructure Systems (ITIS) Program in the Division of Civil and Mechanical Systems.

As director, de la Garza will be responsible for administering existing ITIS research projects and reviewing potential projects. The program supports research in the fields of infrastructure, construction and transportation. In January 2004, he will take a leave of absence from the university to serve at NSF headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

An expert in construction engineering and management, highway infrastructure management and information technology in construction, de la Garza is the Vecellio Professor of Construction Engineering and Management at Virginia Tech. Internationally known for his research, de la Garza has procured about $4.5 million in external funding to study a variety of construction-related topics, many linked to highway construction and infrastructure-rehabilitation issues.

In 1988, de la Garza joined the Virginia Tech faculty after receiving his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His honors include the American Society of Civil Engineers Best Paper Award from the Technical Council on Computer Practices and the society's Thomas Fitch Rowland Prize for valuable contributions to construction management and construction engineering.

The NSF appointment, which was the result of a national search, is a one-year assignment with a possible renewal for an additional year.

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