Concrete Construction magazine names School of Computing and Engineering Assistant Professor John Kevern one of Most Influential People in the concrete industry

Kansas City, Mo. – Concrete Construction magazine recently named University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Computing and Engineering Assistant Professor John Kevern one of the five Most Influential People in the concrete industry. Kevern, a LEED-accredited professional who was selected for changing how pervious concrete is specified and tested, will appear in Concrete Construction’s January 2012 issue.

Kevern likens pervious concrete to a popular rice cereal and marshmallow treat. But instead of satisfying a sweet tooth, his recipes for pervious concrete are reducing ice-related falls, creating undergraduate research opportunities and improving the environment.

Unlike traditional concrete, pervious concrete contains little or no sand and features craters that capture rainwater, allowing it to seep into the ground and reduce stormwater run-off. This lack of concrete saturation could also reduce the number of falls in icy weather. Building upon this knowledge, Kevern has conducted several nationally-funded research projects and introduced the technology to UMKC.

Working with Campus Facilities Management in 2010, Kevern poured a pervious concrete sidewalk east of Miller Nichols Library. The sidewalk has functioned as a walkway and as a test site for more than 14 types of pervious concrete.

Kevern, along with Gregory King, assistant professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, also conducted a National Science Foundation-funded research project to examine how pervious concrete could prevent ice-related falls. As part of this project, students and professors conducted research in Flarsheim Hall’s Human Motion Laboratory. Outfitted with reflective body markers and electromyography (EMG) sensors, a research assistant walked across a plain concrete square, a pervious concrete square and two metal force plates. Cameras recorded the person’s movements, which were projected onto a computer screen. Then, researchers interpreted the data to measure how a person’s movements differ when walking on pervious concrete or plain concrete.

In addition to reducing stormwater run-off, pervious concrete offers other environmental benefits. As principal investigator of an RMC Research and Education Foundation-funded project, Kevern researched how pervious concrete could reduce what is known as the urban heat island (UHI) effect. The UHI occurs when typical concretes, because of their bulk mass and heat absorption capacities, cause downtown areas to be as many as 22-degrees warmer than nearby rural areas. In contrast, pervious concrete has a porous nature that allows water to cool the ground.

Through projects funded by the C2Product through Indiana INVEST, UMKC and the University of Missouri Research Board, Kevern also has studied the use of soybean oil for concrete curing. A common problem with concrete containing high levels of recycled material is that it demonstrates poor surface durability when subjected to deicer salts.

A nationally-recognized expert on pervious concrete, Kevern received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University. He serves on committees at the American Concrete Institute, American Society for Testing and Materials, American Society of Civil Engineers and the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association. He also is a member of the Transportation Research Board and serves on the emerging concrete technology and concrete durability committees. Kevern has written more than 60 journal articles, papers and reports and has presented at several U.S. and international conferences.

In March, during the 2012 spring semester, Kevern will present a one-day continuing education seminar titled “Designing and Specifying Pervious Concrete Pavements: A Seminar for Engineers, Architects, Contractors, and Producers”. To learn more, contact Christina Davis at (816) 235-1262 or

About the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering:

Located in one of the nation’s largest engineering communities, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Computing and Engineering is Kansas City’s only university with ABET-accredited engineering, computer science and information technology degree programs.

SCE’s internationally-recognized faculty prepare students for today’s competitive job market by providing a curriculum that includes the latest technology and business trends, as well as a comprehensive education in each field’s theory and fundamental practice. Our classes also build bridges to the professional world by partnering with local companies, organizations and engineers. To learn more about SCE, visit

About UMKC:

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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