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Clarkson University Construction Engineering Management Director Appointed to North American College & University Facilities Working Group

Clarkson University Director of Construction Engineering Management Program Erik C. Backus has been appointed to the APPA Informatics Working Group.

Erik BackusAPPA, which once stood for the Association of Physical Plant Administrators, is now known as APPA: Leadership in Educational Facilities and is most commonly referred to as APPA.

The organization, founded in 1914, serves the community of facilities professionals at universities and colleges throughout North America. Under the auspices of the APPA Standards and Codes Council, an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited standards developer, the Informatics Working Group seeks to develop a universal system of information protocols that will allow colleges, universities and other similar institutions to better manage their fixed physical assets.

Backus, a faculty member in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will use his role as an academic and a past university facilities planner to bring a wide range of expertise to the challenge of writing an ANSI standard for how information about facilities is organized in order to facilitate better decision making.

"Benchmarking and related activities have been ongoing for decades now in the facilities world," Backus said. "The challenge remains to have one set of nomenclature and methodology for understanding the sheer volume of information buildings, grounds and infrastructure provided to us today to enable better choices for the future."

The working group began its efforts this summer with representatives from colleges and universities as well as industry partners from across the U.S. and Canada.  This month the group begins in earnest with face-to-face meeting in Chicago, enabling the group to complete its work in the forthcoming year.

"This meeting will allow us to set the path forward for what will be a significant effort to understand and apply informatics at our institutions, with the real hope that we can continue to help control the cost of higher education facilities through more informative decision making," Backus said.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

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[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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