Professor, Kansas State University, and co-owner of KDK Engineering
Kimberly Kramer’s specific areas of interest and research include slender reinforced concrete wall systems, behavior of reinforced concrete, restoration and rehabilitation of structures including resilient design and external strengthening of partially prestressed reinforced concrete structures with fiber reinforced polymer composites. She conducts research with both graduate and undergraduate students, serving as the major professor to 59 graduate students and guiding 15 undergraduate research projects.
Kramer has published peer-refereed journal articles with topics that include the following:
- Analytical load-deflection behavior of partially prestressed concrete girders strengthened with fiber reinforced polymers.
- Slender wall load-deflection behavior.
- Sustainable structural materials.
A past keynote speaker at the World of Concrete, in 2006, she became the director of graduate studies for architectural engineering at Kansas State. Kramer has taught 19 different undergraduate and graduate courses while at K-State, including eight she specifically developed and three via distance education or hybrid in format.
The College of Engineering granted Kramer the Charles H. Scholer Faculty Award (2015), the Dean’s Award of Excellence (2015) and the Myers-Alford Memorial Teaching Award (2017). In 2015, she received the American Society of Engineering Educators Midwest Section Outstanding Service Award. She is the recipient of Women in Engineering and Science Program’s Making a Difference Award (2005, 2007, 2008, 2010). In 2007, Kramer was recognized by the Welded Wire Reinforcement Institute for her teaching and technical contributions. She earned the AGC of Kansas Professorship from the Associated General Contractors of Kansas (2004, 2012, 2013, 2019).
Kramer is heavily involved in professional organizations American Concrete Institute (ACI) and Structural Engineers Association of Kansas and Missouri (SEAKM). She has acted as the faculty adviser to the Kansas State ACI and SEAKM student groups. Under her advising, the ACI team has finished in the top three six times during the last decade. Through the years, Kramer has held several chapter positions including vice president of the Oklahoma City chapter. She has been involved in many national-level committees, including ACI Education Activity Committee, ACI 551 Tilt-up Concrete Construction, ACI Construction Liaison Committee, ACI 120 History, ACI 130 Sustainability, SA03 Chester Paul Siess Award for Excellence in Structural Research, and as Chair of ACI 124 Aesthetics and ACI E702 Design of Concrete Structures. In 2015, she was promoted to the level of fellow in ACI and in 2021 earned the ACI Sustainability Award. Kramer continues to promote her passion of structural engineering, having been appointed by the governor of Kansas to the Kansas State Board of Technical Professionals in 2019 and serving as chair of the PE/PS board.
What is your background and area of expertise?
I received my bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering from Kansas State in 1989. Upon graduation, I worked as a structural engineer-in-training for Leo A. Daly in Omaha; as a lead structural engineer for HTB Inc. in Oklahoma City; as a senior structural engineer for Carter and Burgess in Fort Worth, Texas; and as the director of structural engineering for GideonToal Inc., also in Fort Worth.
I was responsible for the design of building systems – from initial planning stages through final project inspection and completion. I was involved in new projects as well as renovation and restoration, including hospitals, prison facilities, long-span aircraft hangars, military facilities, education facilities, high-rise office buildings, retail facilities, dormitories, churches and parking garages. I completed my master’s degree in civil engineering with an emphasis in structures and applied mechanics in 1999 and later earned a Ph.D. in civil engineering.
In January 2003, I accepted a faculty position with Kansas State in the department of architectural engineering and construction science. I am a licensed structural and professional engineer in Texas, Kansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, Colorado, Indiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina, Nebraska and Wisconsin. As a professor of architectural engineering and construction science, I was named the G.E. Johnson Construction Science Endowed Chair. In addition to a nine-month faculty appointment at K-State, I have the opportunity to stay current with the building industry in a consulting capacity as the co-owner of the consulting company, KDK Engineering LLC. This includes performing as a structural professional education consultant, engineering design and condition assessments.
How did you become interested in doing what you do?
It was a sixth-grade project. We had to design and build a model of a college campus in 2200. I fell in love with architecture and the built environment – specifically, structural engineering.
What types of projects do you typically oversee?
In my professional practice, a wide range of commercial projects. Specifically, the use of precast for parking structures and office buildings.
In my academic career, I currently am working on a project to develop two precast concrete courses (one construction course and one engineering course). I am working with Dr. Hayder Rasheed with Kansas State University and Dr. Mohammed Albahttiti with California State University-Chico. These courses will be cross-campus co-taught.
What are some unique or noteworthy projects on which you specified precast concrete?
- The University of North Texas east parking garage in Fort Worth, Texas. The exterior architectural precast panels with two separate finishes and circular openings were challenging for the precaster.
- The MCI Switch Facility Addition in Downers Grove, Ill. The use of hollow core planks with a live load of 250 psf and 500 psf in specific areas. The owner was insistent that the structural gravity system must match the existing system (hollow core planks) even though the existing structure only supports a standard office building load. The high live loads were for the backup battery systems. One challenging aspect of this project was the camber needed due to the high loads.
- Las Colinas Parking Garage in Irving, Texas, a four-story precast parking structure. The foundation system was approximately 100 feet deep because of expansive soils.
What benefits does precast concrete offer your projects?
Outstanding quality in architectural finishes since skilled workers create the precast in a controlled environment. Precast concrete has an inherent fire resistance and is durable. Therefore, no additional fire proofing is needed. Precast concrete is a very sustainable building material.
How do you see the role of precast concrete as a building material changing in the future?
Labor efficiency. Precast concrete reduces the quantity of workers needed on the job site and during the construction process, since most of the work is done in a factory with optimization of machinery that isn’t available on the job site.
Also, precast concrete is a sustainable building product for many reasons: reuse of forms, less waste material, limited weather impacts on construction and faster construction time. When examining life cycle, the higher energy efficiency of precast sandwich wall panels and lower greenhouse emissions over the long term is profoundly larger than other materials. As a reminder, concrete sequesters up to 20% of the annual calcination CO2 emission produced by clinker.
For these reasons, the use of precast concrete will rise.