Young New York Engineer Helps 4 World Trade Center Stand Tall

February 7, 2014

 This is the eighth profile of a series to introduce ASCE’s New Faces of Civil Engineering 2014. Part of what makes the job of a civil engineer so invigorating is that they can work on projects that not only make the world a better place to live, but also improve the quality of life. A civil engineer plays a critical role in determining how our environment looks and functions. Today, read about Tyler Troast.

Tyler Troast - ColorIn a city that builds and opens a new skyscraper almost every week, a certain ribbon-cutting ceremony held at a new office tower in lower Manhattan on November 13 was noteworthy. For this wasn’t just any office tower, but the 1.8 million-square-foot 4 World Trade Center – and it was the first to open its doors and receive its certificate of occupancy on the new 16-acre World Trade Center complex. Standing at 978 feet tall, the tower will later this year become the new headquarters site of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

 One World Trade Center was topped out on August 10, 2012, and 2 World Trade Center and 3 World Trade Center – which are both designed to surpass the height of 4 World Trade Center – are currently under construction.

 Throughout the construction of 4 World Trade Center, Tyler Troast, P.E., M.ASCE, a project manager with the Tishman Construction Corporation, has taken on numerous responsibilities, from supervising subcontractors to managing logistics of the daily construction. When he was first hired, he was responsible for supervising the construction of 4 World Trade Center’s foundations, which included rock anchors, strip footings, spread footing, caissons, and pile caps. As construction progressed, he transitioned into managing the superstructure steel contract, including 23,000 tons of structural steel, along with the superstructure concrete contract of over 100,000 cubic yards of concrete.

 “I started out as an assistant superintendent on the project about five and a half years ago and worked my way up into a couple of different roles on the project,” explained Troast, who graduated from Bucknell University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. “As I moved into a project management role, I became responsible for day-to-day contract management, including approval of shop drawings, along with getting the permits and necessary paperwork to move ahead with construction activities. In addition, I was helping to get new contracts signed and managing the contractors when they had questions about what they were building.

 “It’s a hands-on role, with the downside being a lot of paperwork, but it is also very gratifying to go out on-site and work with the engineer to come up with solutions to problems that they don’t always foresee on paper. To get out of college and work on a project like 4 World Trade Center day in and day out was pretty exciting.”

 Throughout the project, Troast displayed valuable problem-solving capabilities in developing solutions for on-site field conditions that arose between the concrete and steel teams.

 “We had a lot of conflicts between the structural steel and the rebar,” notes Troast, who also volunteers for the ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) New York Mentor Program, where he helps prepare high school students for careers in design and construction. “Tower 4 was a steel-first job, so basically all of the core steel went up first ahead of the concrete core work. Once the steel was erected, we had to work around it and come up with solutions to make the rebar work. There were a lot of challenges to overcome during construction, but it was exciting to get to see the project through to completion.”

 Troast says that what inspired him to become a civil engineer were both his parent’s encouragement and his own fascination “with the endless possibilities of building with K’nex and Legos.” Growing up just outside of New York City and watching accounts of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Towers on 9/11 as a sophomore in high school, he became aware of the importance of designing and constructing structures that are not only awe-inspiring but also safe.

 “There is a tremendous amount of responsibility that comes with designing structures that are used by the general public,” says Troast, who is now working on the construction of 3 World Trade Center. “Whether it’s a building that has thousands of people walk through its doors every day, or a bridge in the harsh wilderness that sees two cars every month, engineers must account for every factor in order to ensure that the user is safe throughout the life of the structure.”

 “If you think about how often you use something that is designed by an engineer, it will open your eyes to how vital engineers are to society.”

  Next in the series, read about Sean Walsh

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