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Off-site Construction Research Centre

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Meet the team

OSCO Research Chair in Off-site Construction and OCRC Scientific Director

Zhen Lei is an assistant professor in the department of civil engineering, the OSCO Research Chair in Off-site Construction and scientific director of the Off-site Construction Research Centre (OCRC) at the University of New Brunswick.

He received an M.Sc. and PhD in Construction Engineering and Management from the University of Alberta and then worked at PCL Industrial Management Inc. prior to joining the OCRC team at UNB.

Dr. Lei’s main research areas includes:

  • construction process simulation and optimization
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM) and emerging digital technologies
  • work process improvement in off-site construction

Email | LinkedIn | Publications


Director, Innovation and Operations

Brandon is the Director of Innovation and Operations at the University of New Brunswick Off-site Construction Research Centre. In his role, Brandon is responsible for engaging private and public sector organizations to build partnerships, attract investment to UNB, manage and operate the research centre, and support research projects through grant identification and managing key strategic projects and relationships.

Before joining UNB in 2019, Brandon worked in the public sector on capital projects, followed by a five-year position with WSP, where he was an infrastructure management consultant. In addition to his current role with UNB, Brandon sits as a Board Member and Secretary for Building Transformations (formerly CanBIM), an active member of the Off-site Construction working group at the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB), and a member of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) Construction Division.

Brandon has been instrumental in growing the OCRC and creating an executive board of construction leaders from across the country. He is eager to collaborate and work with industry partners to grow the Off-site Construction Research Centre and to create innovative ideas that will transform the construction industry.

Email | LinkedIn


Research Associate and Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Ala Suliman, Postdoctoral Fellow (PDF)

Dr. Ala Suliman is a Research Associate in the University of New Brunswick Department of Civil Engineering and an industry postdoctoral fellow at the OCRC.

Dr. Suliman received his Ph.D. degree in Geomatics Engineering followed by an M.Sc.E degree in Construction Engineering & Management both from the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in 2017 and 2019, respectively. In 2020, Dr. Suliman formally joined the association of licensed professional engineers (P.Eng.) in NB. Prior to joining OCRC, Dr. Suliman’s professional experience has been a combination of both academia and consulting. In the academic environment, he has a demonstrated record of teaching and research experiences at different universities. He lectured a diverse set of (under)graduate Civil, Construction surveying, and Geomatics engineering courses and (co)authored 20+ refereed research publications, including a book chapter. In the consultancy profession, Dr. Suliman delivered numerous training programs to many local consultancy firms and provided engineering consultancy and surveying services, for several years, to the leading construction companies in his home country.

Dr. Suliman is a guest editor, an active reviewer in several academic journals, and a member of various research societies. His research interests include benchmarking, mapping, and maturity modeling of construction-related qualitative concepts in addition to the innovative applications of digitization and automation technologies in construction management.

Email | LinkedIn | Publications


Structural Research Engineer

Samira Rizaee

Dr. Samira Rizaee is a Structural Research Engineer at the University of New Brunswick Off-site Construction Research Centre (OCRC). In her role, she leads projects to propose solutions for faster and more feasible construction practices. She is also an associate member of the Civil Engineering Department, where she supervises various experimental projects and graduate students. In addition, she teaches undergraduate courses such as Statics for Engineers and Structural Steel Design I.

Dr. Rizaee received her Ph.D. and MSc from the University of Calgary in 2021 and 2015. During her graduate studies, Dr. Rizaee worked on solving structural engineering, masonry and building envelope problems with Alberta Masonry Council for over five years and Stantec Consulting Ltd. for two years.

Dr. Rizaee has also been involved with the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering-Calgary chapter since 2013 and has served in different roles, such as vice president of memberships, events, and sponsorship and recently as the vice president at large.

Email | LinkedIn | Publications


Project Manager

Nicole Odo

Nicole is a Project Manager at UNB Off-site Construction Research Centre. A Master of Science in Civil Engineering graduate from the University of New Brunswick, Nicole has been with the Centre as a researcher since 2020. Originally from Fredericton, NB, she completed her B.Sc.E in Civil Engineering at UNB and graduated in 2017.

After completing her bachelor’s degree, Nicole worked for J.D. Irving for 3 years in a variety of roles. She began her career with the Process Improvement team within the Woodlands division, where she earned her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt qualification and completed a variety of business development and improvement projects. She later transitioned to a company within the Construction & Equipment division, Gulf Operators Ltd., where she gained experience as a Quality Manager for the Safe Clean Drinking Water Project and later as a Junior Project Manager for civil construction projects. She then went on to join the Centre as a Researcher in 2020.

Nicole hopes to leverage past industry experience in managing the various projects she handles at OCRC. Nicole’s interests lie in the areas of process efficiency and improvement efforts to streamline construction engineering and management practices.

In her spare time, Nicole enjoys highland dancing, yoga, reading and travelling. She is an active volunteer within the highland community as the current President of ScotDance New Brunswick and chair of the ScotDance Canada Young Professionals Development committee.

Email | Linkedin


Marketing and Communications Officer

Savleen Khurana

Savleen is the Marketing and Communications Officer at UNB Off-site Construction Research Centre and the Department of Civil Engineering. Originally from Mumbai, India, she completed her PGCert in Public Relations from York University.

After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication with a Major in Journalism from the University of Mumbai, Savleen joined Golin, where she worked on a diaspora of clients for six years, starting as an intern and transitioning into a Senior Manager position over the years. During this period, Savleen also received a Master of Commerce degree with a specialization in Management from the University of Mumbai. After her move to Canada in 2020, she went on to join CAM Institute of Design in Saint John, NB, as the Brand Manager. At CAM, she handled marketing and communications responsibilities, along with student recruitment, to help this new institute make a mark in the market.

A resident of Saint John, NB, Savleen’s passion lies in working with innovation-led organizations. When not taking on the world of marketing by storm, she enjoys her time singing and playing the ukulele.

Email | LinkedIn


Participating faculty members

Participating faculty member

Dr. Trevor Hanson

Dr. Trevor Hanson is an associate professor at the University of New Brunswick in the department of civil engineering, with a specialization in transportation. Dr. Hanson obtained his BScE, MScE and PhD from UNB.

His primary research focuses on planning and forecasting tools for age-friendly rural transportation planning, with an initial focus on volunteer transportation. Dr. Hanson’s research was inspired by the transportation challenges he observed while growing up in rural New Brunswick and his volunteer work within a community development group.

With the OCRC, Trevor Hanson is managing a research project that involves smart building sensors as part of a project originated on behalf of UNB by the Smart Campus Integration and Testing Lab at Ryerson University. Dr. Hanson is collaborating with OCRC researchers to help develop the use cases for UNB's data contribution to this project. This project was initiated by Dr. Monica Wachowicz, who continues to work with Dr. Hanson on the project.

thanson@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Participating faculty member

Dr. Alan Lloyd

Dr. Alan Lloyd is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and a co-director of the University of New Brunswick Ballistics and Mechanics Testing lab. He has been working with the university in a variety of roles for over 5 years.

Dr. Lloyd received an MA. Sc. and PhD in structural engineering from the University of Ottawa, where his research focused on blast resistant structures. His research interests include ballistic and impact response of structures and materials, reinforced concrete structures, precast concrete structures, and fibre reinforced polymers (FRP) for retrofit of structures.

alan.lloyd@unb.ca 


Participating faculty member

Dr. Jeff Rankin

Dr. Rankin is a professor and holds the M. Patrick Gillin Chair in Construction Engineering and Management in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of New Brunswick. Prior to joining UNB, Dr. Rankin was the Executive Director of the Construction Technology Centre Atlantic, an innovation broker for the region’s construction industry.

Dr. Rankin’s construction experience has included various project and construction management roles in many types of construction projects including high-rise buildings and larger infrastructure projects such as the Confederation Bridge. He received his PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Rankin’s current research focuses on improving the performance of the construction industry through innovation: the appropriate adoption and implementation of advanced technologies and sustainable practices for the delivery of public infrastructure.

rankin@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Participating faculty member

Xiomara Sanchez-Castillo

Dr. Xiomara Sanchez-Castillo is an Assistant Professor and the D.C. Campbell Chair for Highway Construction and Pavement Research at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) and a registered Professional Engineer in the province of New Brunswick. She has been working in the field of pavement engineering for over 15 years. She received her doctoral degree in 2015 at the University of Waterloo.

Dr. Sanchez's main research interests are the use and performance of recycled materials for road construction. At UNB, she is developing a research program to study the effective use of waste and by-product materials in pavements. She has investigated the use of reclaimed asphalt pavement, recycled asphalt shingles, and recycled plastic. Additionally, she is currently researching asphalt modification and exploring the use of biomaterials to enhance the performance of bituminous materials.

A holder of MASc and BASc Civil Engineering from the University of Los Andes, Dr. Sanchez has been recognized with the Harrison McCain Foundation Young Scholars Award (2017). She is a member of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineers (CSCE), Academy of Pavement Science and Engineering (APSE) and Canadian Technical Asphalt Association (CTAA). Dr. Sanchez is also a board member of the New Brunswick Asphalt User-Producer Group (NBUPG).


Participating Faculty Member

Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas is a Professor at UNB’s Department of Civil Engineering. A holder Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Aston, Michael currently teaches Materials for Civil Engineering and Concrete technology classes at UNB.

Michael graduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 after obtaining his B.Sc. Civil Engineering degree, after which he also went on to complete his PGCE Teaching Certificate in 1983.

His research interests include Durability of cement and concrete materials, alkali-silica reaction (ASR), alkali-carbonate reaction (ACR), chloride ingress and corrosion of steel, delayed ettringite formation, sulfate attack, use of portland limestone cement, pozzolans, slag and other industrial by-products; Repair of concrete, use of fibre-reinforced plastics, use of lithium for ASR control; and Service-life prediction and life cycle analysis of concrete structures (co-author of Life-365).

During his professional span of over two decades, Michael has been a member of the Cement and Concrete Research editorial board, along with being the Associate Editor for Canadian Journal for Civil Engineering. He has won many awards during his career, including American Concrete Institute Wason Medal in 2009 and 1996.

Email | LinkedIn | Publications


Participating faculty member

Dr. Lloyd McCara Waugh

Dr. Lloyd McCara Waugh is a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). He began teaching at UNB in 1984 and was the civil engineering department chair from 1998-2003. Dr. Waugh received a B.Sc. Civil Engineering from UNB, and a M.Sc. and PhD in Construction Engineering and Management from Stanford University.

Dr. Waugh’s career in construction started in the late 1970’s as a laborer, then progressed as he became a job foreman, project manager and construction manager with a general contractor. Since then, he has been President of Swift Mechanical Contractors Ltd, President of AEC Innovations/FocalTrack Inc., and President of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering, as well as an executive director and board member of the Construction Technology Centre Atlantic and board member of the New Brunswick Chapter of the Canadian Construction Research Board. He is currently a research and development advisor for Bradley Engineering. In addition to his construction industry and civil engineering experience, he has been a president and chief negotiator for the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers.

Historically, Dr. Waugh’s research interest has been innovation in the architecture-engineering-construction industry; more recently, it has been high visual and spatial resolution virtual reality in the AEC industry.

waugh@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Researchers

Student Researcher | PhD Civil Engineering

Kamyab Aghajamali

Kamyab is a PhD student in construction engineering and management at the University of New Brunswick. He received his bachelor of science at Amirkabir University of Technology and his master of science at the University of Tehran.

Through his graduate studies, Kamyab worked in TECNOSA R&D Center in Tehran as a programming engineer. In September 2021, he joined the OCRC team as a student researcher.

Kamyab’s research interests include automation, simulation and optimization in construction, and the applications of Artificial Intelligence in construction.

kamyab.aghajamali@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Student Researcher | Ph.D. Construction Engineering and Management

Shahrnaz is currently pursuing a doctorate in Construction Engineering and Management at the University of New Brunswick under the supervision of Dr. Zhen Lei and Dr. Jeff Rankin and is part of the Off-site Construction Research Centre. Her research revolves around building information modelling and the application of digital technologies including construction digital twin and augmented reality in the construction industry. Prior to joining UNB, she worked at Jayne Construction Company, a general contractor company in Iran for more than three years, where she served as a manager of the tender department and technical expert on wastewater treatment plant projects.
She completed her Master of Science in structural engineering at the Iran University of Science and Technology in 2015. In her thesis, she focused on the optimal design of reinforced concrete structures to minimize the cost and carbon dioxide emissions through different phases of a building life cycle using metaheuristic algorithms.

Shahrnaz’s research interests lie in the area of optimization to achieve a more economic and environmentally friendly way of construction. In her spare time, she enjoys cycling, travelling, pencil drawing and reading books.

Shahrnaz.Ardalani@unb.ca| LinkedIn


Research Assistant

Zhuo Cheng

Zhuo Cheng completed her bachelor of science in timber structural engineering at the Nanjing Forestry University (NFU) and her master's degree in forestry engineering at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). During her bacherlor’s degree, Zhuo was the vice president in Student Union of Material Science and Engineering College, NFU. Her responsibilities were focused on marketing and publications including designing posters, managing, and running social media and organizing or participating in student events.

While completing her education, she became fond of BIM, construction management and digital engineering in the early stage of the building lifecycle. As a research assistant with the OCRC, Zhuo is focused on visualization design using 3D BIM, modelling software for architectural drawings and animation software (4D BIM). Zhuo’s projects to date have focused on creating architectural and project simulation drawings for a simulation where housing is manufactured in southern Canada and transported to northern Canada for assembly, erection, and installation. In addition to her research projects, Zhuo is conducting research on the potential of implementing game engine software in the construction field.


Researcher

Kate Cunnigham

Kate is a Reseracher at OCRC. Currently pursuing a master of science in civil engineering from UNB, Kate’s research focuses on testing a new connection developed for precast wall panels and is under the supervision of Dr. Alan Lloyd and Dr. Samira Rizaee. Kate graduated with her B.Sc.E in Civil Engineering from UNB in 2022.

Over the course of her bachelor’s degree, Kate worked for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure for two summers, where she was part of the Bridge Maintenance Unit. She also worked for the OCRC as a research assistant, during which she was involved in a variety of projects.

A resident of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Kate’s other interests include figure skating, reading, and hiking. She also volunteers as an assistant coach for a local learn-to-skate program.


Researcher

Julia Holgate

Julia is a researcher at the University of New Brunswick Off-site Construction Research Centre. She is currently completing her Master of Science in Civil Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Alan Lloyd and Dr. Michael Thomas. She is passionate about solving climate change problems and hopes to design durable structures to mitigate the effects of harsh environmental conditions.

Her focus in this degree is on studying the material and mechanical properties of Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC). She is currently working on a project, partnered with Nunafab, to develop a UHPC mix that is aimed at solving the housing crisis in Nunavut. In doing so, she is optimizing a mixed-design and large-scale production process that allows building components to be lightweight, low maintenance and durable enough to withstand arctic climates.

When she is not in the lab, Julia enjoys developing her skills in other areas, such as learning new languages, coding and practicing her gymnastics on the cheer team.

julia.holgate@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Research Assistant | B.Sc. Computer Science

Jialiang (Rafael) Hua

Jialiang Hua is originally from Shanghai, China. In 2020, he completed his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the University of New Brunswick.

Since last summer, Jialiang has been working with Dr. Zhen Lei to develop a System UI/UX workflow and design for Hinton Scaffolding. Jialiang helped to design and develop business intelligence dashboards, a mobile app prototype and data visualizations using Microsoft Power App and Azure SQL server.

Jialiang is always drawn to learning new technology and cool gadgets. His curiosity towards latest innovative technologies made him knowledgeable in the rapid evolutionary tech world we live in. Of course, he also has to get his hands on the latest gadgets! Apart from coding and problem-solving with technology, he enjoys playing basketball and travelling with his friends.

jhua@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Student Researcher | MScE Civil Engineering

Lucas Marshall

Lucas is currently pursuing a master of science in civil engineering at the University of New Brunswick under the supervision of Dr. Alan Lloyd and Dr. Zhen Lei. His research is being completed in partnership with Strescon Ltd., focusing on the bearing capacity of their precast hollow core slabs, as well as the production process.

Lucas is from Quispamsis, New Brunswick, and had moved to Fredericton in 2017 to pursue his B.Sc.E in Civil Engineering at UNB. Throughout his bachelor’s degree Lucas worked as a student in several summer internships. These included time with Dillon Consulting in Saint John, NB, a term with the Bell Mobility Structural and Maintenance team in Dorval, QC, and an eight-month term with the Off-site Construction Research Centre as an undergraduate research student in partnership with Ocean Steel.

In his free time, Lucas enjoys playing hockey, skiing, golfing, and mountain biking, as well as spending time working with the UNB Canadian Society for Civil Engineering student chapter.

lmarsha1@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Student Researcher | PhD Civil Engineering

Sergiy Polyachenko

Sergiy is currently working on his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at the University of New Brunswick under the supervision of an interdisciplinary advisory team of Dr. Jeff Rankin, Dr. Dhirendra Shukla, and Dr. Yuri Yevdokimov. In his research, Sergiy is focusing on the competition and innovation capabilities of the construction companies of the Atlantic Canada.

Before joining UNB, Sergiy studied Economics at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and acquired his M.Sc. in Economics in 2011. After that, Sergiy worked as a junior research fellow at Higher School of Economics in Moscow focusing on problems of human capital accumulation, regional economics, and rural infrastructure.

Sergiy’s area of expertise includes quantitative research, data analytics, construction markets, and public procurement.

spolyach@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Student Researcher | MScE Civil Engineering

Alyssa van de Riet

Alyssa recently graduated with a B.Sc. Civil Engineering student and is now pursuing an accelerated master’s in civil engineering. Alyssa comes from rural Nova Scotia and has developed an interest in off-site construction after working at Shaw Precast Solutions in Lantz, NS.

Alyssa’s first project with the OCRC was partnered with Alantra Leasing. This project focused on improving the productivity of their off-site operations. This project has inspired various projects since this time, including her undergraduate research thesis and her current master’s project.

avan4@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Student Researcher | MScE in construction engineering and management

Mahsa Rezvani

Mahsa is currently enrolled in the master of construction engineering and management degree program at the University of New Brunswick. She completed a bachelor of science in civil engineering at the University of Mazandaran followed by a master of science in water resources planning and management at the University of Isfahan.

In 2015, Mahsa started her first work experience as an assistant site supervisor in a 9-story concrete-frame construction with ICF walls system located in Babolsar, Iran. This work experience sparked her curiosity for finding ways to solve existing construction issues and finding ways to leverage technology for more productive construction practices. She started her master studies in May 2021 at UNB off-site Construction Research Center. Under the supervision of Dr. Zhen Lei and Dr. Lloyd Waugh, she is focusing on exploring the technology potentials and applications of digital technologies including augmented and mixed reality in precast concrete production.

In her spare time, Mahsa enjoys running, listening to music and oil painting. She always looks forward to opportunities to join and get involved in voluntary activities and event organizations in the university community and the Graduate Student Association, as she was a member of the Civil Engineering Students Association in her third and fourth years of bachelor's studies.

mrezvani@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Research Programmer

Sanya Sahni

Sanya is pursuing her Master’s in Computer Science at the University of New Brunswick. In addition to her studies, she is also working as a Research Programmer under Dr. Zhen Lei at the UNB Off-site Construction Research Centre, where she uses her background in AI to solve problems in the Civil Engineering space.

Presently, Sanya is collaborating with Bird Construction to auto-generate 3D representations of a structure from its 2D floor plan image. In addition to her research responsibilities, Sanya coordinates with vendors and industry partners to ensure smooth and timely project operations.

Sanya has six years of experience as a Data Scientist for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Her expertise lies in using Natural Language Processing and Computer Vision to build models on and generate insights from unstructured data.

Sanya is an avid reader and spends her off-hours huddled with her books and a warm cup of coffee.

sanya.sahni@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Student Researcher | MSce Civil Engineering

Yuxi Wei

Yuxi recently graduated with a master of architecture degree from the University of California and is now pursuing master of science in civil engineering at the University of New Brunswick.

She developed her interest in off-site construction while taking a construction course, which included a semester-long site visit to a modular construction site in Oakland, California. Her current research work with the OCRC focuses on architectural design opportunities in an off-site construction environment.

y.w@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Past researchers

Research Assistant

Aziz Alattas

Aziz is a recent graduate from UNB’s bachelor of science in civil engineering program. After completing the first two years of his degree at UNB Saint John, Aziz continued his studies in Fredericton to finish his final two years. While working on his undergraduate degree, Aziz worked at OSCO Construction Group’s Strescon Limited in Saint John, NB, then had a 4-month co-op with Aecon Foundations in Toronto, ON. During this co-op, Aziz was responsible for coordinating and inspecting on-site construction activities. Finally, Aziz completed an 8-month co-op with Stantec Consulting in Fredericton, NB where he worked on hydraulics and hydrology related projects. In this final co-op, Aziz expanded his CAD modeling skills as he worked extensively on software such as AutoCAD, Civil 3D and MicroStation.

Aziz’s interest in off-site construction began after taking a special studies course about Building Information Modeling (BIM) with Dr. Zhen Lei in his fourth year as a civil engineering student. Aziz’s current research work with the OCRC focuses on improving productivity of steel fabrication workstations by using data analytics and lean manufacturing techniques. Aziz has been very passionate about playing sports since he was young, especially soccer and volleyball. When he isn’t in school, researching, or playing sports, Aziz also enjoys reading books.

alattas@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Student Researcher | MScE

Ramtin Azami

Ramtin started his master’s degree at UNB in May 2020, working with the Off-site Construction Research Centre. He has a background in civil engineering specializing in geotechnical engineering. After graduating with a degree in geotechnical engineering in 2017, he started working as a site engineer to expand his knowledge, skills and experience, which triggered his interest in construction management. Following this, he elected to pursue a degree in construction management under Dr. Lei’s supervision. Ramtin is now part of Off-site Construction Research Centre and is working on his thesis focused on optimizing the use of robots in the construction industry.

His skills include soil mechanics testing such as direct shear, triaxial, and cyclic triaxial test; analyzing geotechnical structures using GeoStudio (geo-slope), PLAXIS, and Abaqus; structural design of different buildings using both ETABS and SAP2000 software; and coding in Python.

Ramtin enjoys meeting new people and hearing or learning new perspectives. Please reach out if you are interested in talking about robotics in the construction industry, managing projects, geotechnical engineering or movies.

ramtin.azami@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Research Assistant

Brandon Beasley

Brandon Beasley is a computer science graduate with a specialization degree in cybersecurity, and he is currently a research assistant with the OCRC. Prior to joining the OCRC, he worked as a full-stack developer for mechThat LLC; he was tasked with developing a secure web application designed to help law firms with case management. Brandon always likes to give a helping hand; with his free time, he has worked as a volunteer for several projects; one of those projects, he was the technical consultant for the 1000 donors Edmonton campaign, tasked with the development of the 1000 donor’s website and API used to track the current blood donation statistics. In his spare time, he enjoys road trips to explore Canada while sampling various cuisine.

His current research is focused on leading the designing and development of a secure application to automize data retrieval of projects. Brandon is also working on a second research project, where he is tasked to lead the design/building and prototyping of a secure application used to automize workflow.

bbeasley@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Student Researcher | MScE Construction Engineering and Management

José Daniel is a Colombian engineer with a petroleum and business background. He is currently a Master of Science student in Construction Engineering and Management under the supervision of Dr. Zhen Lei and he is part of the Offsite Construction Research Centre. He completed a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering at Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS) in 2014, followed by a degree in Business Management at Universidad de La Sabana in 2017. His research focus involves Data Analytics and Construction Project Optimization and Automation to increase economic and environmental sustainability in the Offsite Construction Industry. His professional experience includes working in the field, managing projects for companies in various industries and developing entrepreneurial projects.

José Daniel is particularly passionate about the application of Data Sciences and AI to enhance productivity in multiple fields. He loves to play and watch sports, most notably soccer, tennis and biking, and he also enjoys cooking, reading, movies and nature. Family and education are the strongest influence and inspiration for his life and career.

jcuellar@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jenna Eveleigh is an undergraduate research assistant with the OCRC. She is currently in her third year of civil engineering in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). Her summer experience includes conducting quality assurance and control in a processing plant in the agriculture industry and working as a Capital Works Inspector for the City of Moncton (City) for a 4-month co-op term in summer 2021. While with City, Jenna acted as the project coordinator, inspector and liaison between the project engineer and contractors on site.

With the OCRC, Jenna will be focused on Lean construction and value stream mapping (VSM) of a steel fabrication plant. Her role will include statistical analysis, data collections and time studies, process mapping, and exploring the use of augmented reality (AR) in a fabrication environment.

Originally from Newfoundland, she enjoys skiing, soccer, volleyball, and playing the piano.


Research Assistant | Concurrent BCS/B.Sc. program

Yongde Hu

Yongde Hu is currently a student in the bachelor of computer science/bachelor of science concurrent degree program. At the end of this program, Yongde Hu will graduate with two degrees, a bachelor of computer science, as well as a bachelor of science with a major in physics.

With both physics and computer science as theoretical and practical background knowledge, Yongde takes particular interest in applying simulation and data/business analysis skill in Off-site construction, utilizing Industry 4.0.

yhu6@unb.ca 


Dylan McKenna

Dylan McKenna is currently completing his Master of Science at the University of New Brunswick under the supervision of Dr. Zhen Lei. Before beginning his master’s, he earned a General Studies Diploma from Lethbridge College while playing college baseball. Following his studies at Lethbridge, Dylan earned an Engineering Diploma from the University of Prince Edward Island before transferring to UNB, where he completed his Bachelor of Science in Engineering, graduating in May 2020.

While completing his bachelor’s degree, Dylan spent two summers working for the City of Summerside as a student site inspector for municipal engineering projects. He spent last summer working as a carpenter’s apprentice for LEAD Structural Formwork Ltd. in Halifax. While attending UNB, Dylan completed two 4-month co-op terms: one as an intern with a geotechnical engineering firm in Stuttgart, Germany, and the other as an environmental engineering student with GEMTEC Ltd. at their Fredericton office. He enjoys golfing, skiing, and spending time with friends and family.

dylan.mckenna@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Research Assistant | B.Sc. Civil Engineering

Pritish Sookar

Pritish was born and raised in Mauritius. He completed his B.Sc. in Civil Engineering at the University of New Brunswick in 2021.

In 2019, Pritish worked as a design management intern for Flatiron Construction, a construction company based in Richmond, British Columbia. During his time at Flatiron Construction, he had the opportunity to work on the design and bidding phase of two Private-Public-Partnership (P3) projects, namely the Pattullo Bridge Replacement project and the Kicking Horse Phase 4 project.

Pritish has also worked as a Civil Engineering intern with the Department of Transportation, Government of New Brunswick and as a technical student with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Government of Nova Scotia.

psookar@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Student Researcher | M.Eng. (part-time)

Nic Thompson, Master of Engineering (part-time) (MEng)

Nic Thompson is currently completing his Master of Engineering at the University of New Brunswick while working fulltime with FCC Construction, a general contracting company, part of OSCO Construction Group, based in Saint John, NB. Nic is completing his masters under the supervision of Dr. Zhen Lei with a focus on the implementation of a case study within FCC to assess the practical advantages of building information modeling. Before beginning his masters, he completed a Bachelor of Science in Engineering at UNB, graduating in May of 2019.

While completing his bachelor’s degree, Nic returned to his home town of Saint John, in the summers to work with the City of Saint John. With the city, he was responsible for collecting data to aid in the development of a 3D flow model of the city’s underground infrastructure. 

Before graduating, he also completed an eight-month co-op term with FCC Construction where he played a key role in the development and submittal of turnover documentation for a 220-million-dollar water treatment facility. In his free time, he enjoys playing and coaching lacrosse, and spending time with friends and family.

nic.thompson@unb.ca | LinkedIn