Deb Dickerson
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Research Group Leader
I'm a certified industrial hygienist, safety professional and hazardous materials manager with a doctorate in industrial engineering. I'm interested in finding innovative solutions to health problems arising from the built environment and inherent to construction processes. Please read more about my background on the other pages of this site and feel free to contact me ( with any inquiries!
Paul Ackerman
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I am a PhD student in the VCEM Program under the supervision of Dr. Dickerson beginning in January 2011. I received a BS in CEE from Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1993 and a MSCE from WVU in 1995. My areas of interest include hazardous materials control, indoor air quality, sustainable design, project management, and construction best practices.

My professional experience consists of working on a variety of commercial, state, and federal projects to include asbestos, lead based paint, and mold abatement projects. For the past 5 years I was the Assistant Director of the Physical Plant at VMI but also had the opportunity to teach courses on Project Management and Construction Methods which reinforced my desire to pursue a PhD. I am a registered professional engineer in Virginia.

I spend most of my free time with my 3 children and wife participating in recreational sports and outdoor activities. I also enjoy volunteering with the local youth recreation organization and Boy Scout troop.
Ari Goldberg
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I am a doctoral student under Dr. Dickerson studying human factors and ergonomics engineering through the industrial and systems engineering department. Under Dr. Dickerson, I am researching prevention through design (PtD) intervention strategies within construction, specifically concrete/masonry, welding, and asphalt roofing.

I am originally from New York but earned my undergraduate engineering degree from the University of Arizona. Additionally, I studied industrial design abroad in Australia and had an internship with an industrial design firm in Israel. After graduating, I worked on drip irrigation components for use in the Sonoran desert.

Outside of school, I enjoy playing with my dog and training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Gopal Menon
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Gopal Menon is a PhD student in Construction Engineering and Management under the supervision of Dr. Dickerson and his research focus is on "Collapses in Construction and Prevention through Design (PtD)." He has more than fifteen years of experience in Civil Engineering which includes Structural engineering; Computer aided analysis; Construction; and Software development.

Gopal is currently working as a Civil Engineer with Directorate of Construction within Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Department of Labor. He is a registered Professional Civil Engineer in District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
This Could Be You!
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Deb can advise masters and doctoral students in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and welcomes inquiries from students interested in doing dissertations, theses, or project/reports in topical areas related to environmental and occupational health and safety. Funding is available for qualified students.