College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Long-time CCEE Cyclone Doug Wood retires

Doug Wood retired in May from the department of civil, construction and environmental engineering as a research scientist and structural engineering lab manager.  

Wood has been employed at Iowa State since 2008, but his history as a Cyclone goes well beyond then.

Wood came to Iowa State in 1973 to study architecture and compete on the men’s gymnastics team. During his time as a student athlete, he studied hard and worked harder. 

“I learned that the more practice and effort I put in, the better I could be,” he said. “Teamwork produced results, and the same was true with those I worked with within the lab. From students to faculty, it took teamwork to produce quality results.” 

He was a part of the championship team in 1974, a two-time all-American, and a specialist in the still rings.

After undergrad, Wood utilized his attention to detail and passion for hands-on learning to seek a degree in structural engineering. That is where Wood found his place in the Structural Engineering Research Laboratory—testing and breaking materials to create stronger molecular structures to build better. 

During his time at Iowa State, structural testing changed a lot. 

 “Many of the [structural] tests conducted used mechanical dial gages for displacements, and loads were monitored using hydraulic pressures read off gages,” Wood said. “Data was recorded by writing down vales by hand and also plotting/graphing by hand.” 

In structural testing, they now use over 100 electronic sensors; this allows for advancement in materials and construction that Wood has been a part of.

Wood had a long career at Iowa State, but he is looking forward to retirement life. 

“Being able to travel to see friends and family whenever we want will be in the mix. I worked a lot, and it was always hard for me to take much of a vacation since, in my mind, not enough would be getting done in the lab. I was always fearful of the increased workload waiting for me the more I stayed away,” he said. 

His advice for current and future CCEE students is, “Damage caused from a failed structure can be both catastrophic and deadly. It’s an exciting and rewarding profession, and the structures you design and build will benefit everyone. To get to the profession, ‘you need to know the fundamentals like the back of your hand; it’s a must! Statics, dynamics, moment diagrams, etc.’”