Peter A Lenzini

Peter A Lenzini
Peter A Lenzini
  • Retired Lecturer and Undergraduate Advisor


Peter A. Lenzini received his B.S. in engineering from Southern Illinois University in 1968 and his M.S. in civil engineering, with a major in structural engineering and a minor in soil mechanics and foundation engineering, from the University of Illinois in 1971. While pursuing his M.S. degree, Lenzini was employed full-time as a structural design engineer working on the design of bridges, buildings and wastewater treatment structures. After receiving his M.S., he was employed as a geotechnical engineer in California where he worked on foundation investigations and designs for a variety of structures, slope stability and landslide investigations including design of remedial measures, design of earth retaining structures, and studies for remediation of earthquake damage. From 1973 until 1977, he was a research and teaching assistant at the University of Illinois while he resumed graduate studies in geotechnical engineering and in glacial, structural and engineering geology. Research projects on which he participated included ground improvement techniques for soft ground tunnels, field monitoring of settlements related to soft ground tunneling, model testing of tunnels in sand, and deterioration of shales and other argillaceous rocks. He taught the introductory soil mechanics and foundation engineering class and the graduate soil mechanics laboratory.

In 1977 Lenzini left the University to become site geotechnical manager for Atomic Energy of Canada during the construction of Korea’s second nuclear power plant. During this assignment he supervised the geotechnical investigation and the foundation construction, including dewatering and the installation of instrumentation to monitor reactor differential settlements. Upon return from Korea, he was engaged as project engineer and project manager for special rock mechanics and cavern stability studies for the Department of Energy’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In 1980 Lenzini returned to Korea to supervise the geotechnical site investigation for additional nuclear reactor units. His responsibilities during that assignment included training Korean geologists in engineering geology field work such as logging of rock core samples, mapping of excavations and rock outcrops, and studies of regional geology. After completion of the field investigation he led the preparation of the preliminary safety analysis report.

In 1981 Lenzini returned to the University and became a Lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering and in 1999 became the department’s undergraduate adviser. He served as the department representative on the College of Engineering Design Council and as a member of the Advisory Committee on the Women in Engineering Program. He retired in June 2006 after 30 years of service to the department.

As a Lecturer, Lenzini taught undergraduate courses on introductory soil mechanics and foundation engineering and geotechnical engineering, and the graduate course in applied soil mechanics. In the summer of 1985 he taught the graduate course on soil mechanics and soil behavior. He had first-hand experience, including field investigations, laboratory testing, design recommendations, construction supervision and failure investigations in all of the topics covered in the classes that he taught for 25 years. He also lectured frequently in the graduate geotechnical courses on case histories in foundation engineering and earth dams, and in 1998 developed and taught the department’s first senior design project course. He also taught portions of several short courses for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on shear strength and slope stability of embankment dams and on rock foundations for concrete dams. He drafted portions of the engineering manuals for the stability analysis of earth dams for FERC and for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Lenzini served on Ph.D. committees on stability of slopes, liquefaction, deep foundations and behavior of foundations on sand. While teaching and during his retirement, he maintained an independent consulting practice focusing on design and failure investigations of foundations, slopes, excavations and retaining structures, as well as on construction problems including damage caused to adjacent structures. He has given depositions or testified as an expert witness in state courts of Alaska, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Texas and Wisconsin; in the federal U.S. Court of Claims; and in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Board of Contact Appeals. Many of the cases in which Lenzini has participated as a consultant or expert witness were discussed as examples or used as case histories in his classes and in seminars and lectures given to students and practicing engineers.

Lenzini is a member of ASCE and is licensed as a civil engineer in California and as a professional engineer in Illinois. In 1993, Mr. Lenzini received the American Society of Civil Engineers Student Chapter Outstanding Instructor Award. He was recognized several times for excellence in teaching and advising, including consistently being named to the list of outstanding instructors as rated by students, and receiving the Accenture Award for outstanding advising every semester that he was Undergraduate Advisor.

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