I am pleased to announce the 2017 NAWRB Nexus Conference Opening Keynote Speaker: Tanya Wattenburg Komas, Ph.D., Founding Director & CEO, Concrete Preservation Institute.
NAWRB CEO and President
Dr. Tanya Komas delivers a highly motivational presentation of her Institute’s work to train and inspire active duty military service members for civilian careers in concrete, construction, and infrastructure while repairing landmark structures through CPI’s Field School programs at Alcatraz Island and Pearl Harbor. Her early work with college students at the WWII D-day landing site at Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France, led to development of the Field School and creation of the non-profit CPI foundation that serves as an official US military active duty Career Skills Program and partner of the US National Park Service.
CPI’s educational mission, alignment with the Departments of Defense and the Interior,and partnerships in the nation-wide concrete and construction industry allow CPI to bring expertise, resources, and people power to complete needed public projects that would not otherwise be undertaken. CPI’s high-profile programs educate broad audiences and elected officials about the resources required to maintain infrastructure and help remind us of our responsibility to fulfill promises made to dedicated military personnel.
With an average of 5000 people visiting both Alcatraz and Pearl Harbor daily, these and other NPS sites are uniquely well-suited environments for service members to reconnect to the civilian world through historical connection, meaningful projects, and interaction with people representing great diversity of thought and background. From a fundamental base in historic preservation, CPI helps advance the overall industry through promoting durability and appropriate technological solutions for new and existing structures and developing workforce. Concrete is ubiquitous – the second most consumed material in the world next to water -leading to large corporate and small business opportunities across the country for long-term employment in geographic locations well-matched to individual veterans and their families.
Through powerful imageryof the crushing weight of time and memory associated with Pointe du Hoc and Pearl Harbor, views beyond the curiosity of popular culture and dark tourism associated with Alcatraz Island, and personal stories of amazing young adults taking responsibility to improve their lives and the world, Dr. Komas reminds us to commit beyond our own self interests and remember the lessons of history as we shape our places in the modern world. Dr. Komas’s professional path,that has included navigating burdensome regulations and bureaucracy and moving past ostensible leaders who refused to take responsibility,shows that successful challenges of the status quo that require forceful and resourceful action can also be graceful when based on patient perspective and clear goals.
Dr. Komas is the CPI Founding Director and CEO, is a former university professor who led her program in a groundbreaking industry partnership, was honored as one of the five most influential people in the concrete industry (Concrete Construction Magazine, 2013), appeared in History, Discovery, and the American Heroes channel TV shows as a technical expert, and is the proud wife of a military veteran and mom to two teenage boys.