Professor Parra is the Faculty Adviser for the Steel Bridge Team at UW – Madison, and has advised the team since the 2013-2014 competition year. Previously he was faculty adviser for the University of Michigan Steel Bridge team and under this role the team competed with consistent national recognition, including a National Championship in 2003 with UW-Madison in 2nd place.
Professor Parra’s main research interests include the behavior and design of reinforced concrete, fiber reinforced concrete, and hybrid steel-concrete structures. In the past few years, Prof. Parra’s research has focused on structural applications of fiber reinforced concrete, with particular emphasis on earthquake-resistant construction as a means to simplify reinforcement detailing and increase deformation capacity. Applications investigated include structural walls, coupling beams, and beam-column and slab-column connections. Prof. Parra has also conducted research on shear behavior of reinforced concrete and fiber reinforced concrete members, as well as on bond between fiber reinforced concrete and either prestressing strands or reinforcing bars. Prof. Parra also led the effort that resulted in the incorporation, for the first time, of fiber reinforcement as minimum shear reinforcement in the 2008 ACI Building Code.
Professor Parra has received several professional awards, including the Wason Medal for Most Meritorious Paper and the Chester Paul Siess Award for Excellence in Structural Research from the American Concrete Institute (ACI), the Walter L. Huber Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Shah Family Innovation Prize from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), and the ACI Young Member Award for Professional Achievement. Professor Parra is also a Fellowof the American Concrete Institute.
Professor Parra is member of several committees of the American Concrete Institute (ACI), including the ACI Building Code Committee 318 and ACI-ASCE Committee 352 on Joints in Monolithic Reinforced Concrete Structures. In addition, he is Chair of ACI Committee 335 on Composite and Hybrid Structures. Prof. Parra is also member of fib Task Group 8.3 on Fibre Reinforced Concrete.