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COE hires new assistant dean for research and contract development

When the college sought a new assistant dean, it was looking for someone with a background in infrastructure issues who could also manage research contract development. Deanna Dietrich was a perfect fit.

Dietrich received a BS degree in civil engineering from the college in 1987, and a law degree from UW-Madison in 1994. Since 1988, she has been employed by RMT, Inc. She began as a project engineer in the company's construction group and eventually was named associate counsel. (RMT, Inc. is a national environmental consulting firm with its headquarters located in Madison.)

Deanna  Dietrich

Deanna Dietrich (large image)

As assistant dean for research and contract development, Dietrich will develop and manage contracts with both federal agencies and industry. "With federal and state agencies, the contract process is fairly well-defined," she says. "With industry, we need to make more room for flexibility and come up with innovative solutions to negotiating terms."

Dietrich will also be responsible for developing relationships with infrastructure-related agencies and industry, and working with faculty and engineering centers on intellectual property issues. She began her new duties in November.

Dietrich's skills will be an ideal complement to skills of the rest of the research and industry relations team, says Gregory A. Moses, associate dean for research and graduate studies. "We already have staff with extensive background in computer sciences, engineering physics, manufacturing and materials science. But Deanna's legal background and experience with technical and policy issues related to infrastructure will be a tremendous asset in an area where we are seeking more contractual research relationships."

Dietrich is already familiar with many COE faculty members, both through her undergraduate experience and her position as Southwest Wisconsin branch contact to the American Society of Civil Engineers student organization. With her expertise in the areas of construction and environmental engineering, she is a familiar face to COE faculty in the civil and environmental engineering department. (In fact, there is a family tie to the department that began with her father, Richard Clarkowski, BSCEE '64.)

"I already had close ties to the university so this job was a natural progression for me," Dietrich says. "I see similarities between project managers I worked with in industry and the professors here. Many of the faculty here are individual entrepreneurs similar to program managers, and I'm very comfortable working under that model."