As an innovator in the understanding of structural behavior and a recognized leader in the investigation of structural collapses, Jack Raymond Janney died in Lawrence, Kansas Oct. 9. He was 82.

Jack R. Janney

Born in Alamosa, Colorado, Janney became a Navy pilot during World War II and after the war returned to the University of Colorado where he earned his bachelor's degree in architectural engineering in 1948. Two years later he earned his master's degree in structural engineering and wrote a thesis thesis on prestressed concrete, one of the first comprehensive papers on the subject. The Portland Cement Association hired Janney to conduct research on prestressed concrete at its newly-constructed laboratories in Skokie, Illinois, where he worked from 1950 to 1956.

That year, Janney started the consulting firm that would eventually become Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., based in Northbrook, Ill. The company today employs more than 400 people in nineteen offices.

Related Links:
  • Wiss, Janney Firm History
  • Prior to the advent of computers and structural analysis programs, Janney pioneered the use of three-dimensional scale models for determining the distribution of strains and stresses in structures. During his 50-plus year career, Janney investigated upwards of 500 major structural collapses and more than 4,000 cases of structural distress.

    A winner of numerous honors, ENR selected Janney as one of its "125 Top People of the Past 125 Years" in the construction industry.

    Although Janney retired as President of WJE and returned to his native Colorado in 1980, he remained a director and an active consultant until his passing this year.