Professional Roofing: What is the most unusual roofing project of which you have been a part?
Smith: The Adak Naval Station Hospital, located about 1,300 miles (2092 km) west of the Alaska mainland, in 1979. The building's cementitious wood fiber roof deck possessed diaphragm strength inadequate to accommodate strong seismic events. The deck had to be replaced while keeping the island's only hospital functional during the reroofing work. This was a challenge because in the Aleutian Chain, moderate winds and rain squalls occur nearly every day. During the first construction season, the old deck was removed, and a new metal deck and built-up roof system were installed. The work took place under a large wooden box that provided protection over the work area. During the next construction season, a steel superstructure was installed to convert the original low-slope roof system into a steep-slope metal roof system. It is my understanding the roof outlasted the station, which was abandoned a few years ago.
What are your favorite items on your desk?
One item is a model of a lunar rover. To me, it illustrates what we are capable of technologically. Another item is a small banner from a shrine in Japan that a colleague gave me during a 10-hour layover in Tokyo while traveling to Guam to conduct typhoon research.
What was your first job?
Delivering newspapers when I was in sixth grade and lived in Alaska.
What is your favorite vacation?
After moving to a small farm nine years ago, my wife and I have not had a vacation other than the enjoyment of country living. It's hard to find a baby sitter for two horses, two goats, several birds and a Doberman pinscher.
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