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    Cindy Menches, PhD, PE - Assistant Professor, CAE

    Cindy Menches, PhD, PE

    Assistant Professor, CAE
    Construction Engineering and Management

    Office: AM 216

    Phone: 312.567.3630
    Fax: 312.567.3519
    Web: Personal Website


    • Research on flexible, fast decision-making on the construction jobsite in response to disruptions to the flow of work. She is investigating how electrical construction workers react to a task disruption by improvising creative workarounds that allow the work to continue. The study aims to identify how decisions made by workers in response to disruptive events can lead them to flexibly restructure tasks (i.e., develop a work-around) in order to adapt to a disruption as it unfolds.
    • Research on the reactions of electrical construction workers to near-miss safety incidents and the influence that specific emotions and reactions have on a worker’s subsequent decisions and behavior (i.e., whether they make more or less risky decisions).
    • Research on emotive contract language and structure. The study will identify specific features of contract clauses that communicate a positive or negative emotive tone, and then, through experimentation, Dr. Menches will establish how specific language and features in the contract evoke specific emotional reactions in individuals.
    • Dr. Menches’ prior work consists of research on various aspects of contracting, including innovative contracting strategies for highway maintenance, reimbursable contracting strategies for Engineer/ Procure/ Construct (EPC) projects, and emergency contracting strategies for public agencies. She has also conducted research on pre-construction planning, management, and cost estimating in the electrical construction industry.


    • Doctor of Philosophy, Civil Engineering, University of Wisconsin – Madison, May 2006
    • Master of Science, Architectural Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 1995
    • Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering – Building Science, University of Southern California, 1989


    1. Title: Affective Reactions to Construction Contract Framing
      Role: Principal Investigator
      Sponsor: Illinois Institute of Technology Educational and Research Initiative Fund
      Duration: 01/13-12/13
    2. Title: Flexible Decision-making in Response to Disruptive Events on Construction Sites
      Role: Principal Investigator
      Sponsor: National Science Foundation
      Duration: 09/11-8/14
    3. Title: Benefits Resulting from Native File Sharing During Electrical Cost Estimating and Bidding
      Role: Principal Investigator
      Sponsor: Foundation for Electrical Construction
      Duration: 04/11-08/12
    4. Title: Reimbursable Contracts
      Role: Principal Investigator
      Sponsor: Construction Industry Institute
      Duration: 09/08-08/10
    5. Title: Achieving Performance Improvement through an Effective Project Management Strategy
      Role: Principal Investigator
      Sponsor: Foundation for Electrical Construction
      Duration: 01/08-12/09
    6. Title: Synthesis Study on Innovative Contracting Techniques for Routine and Preventive Maintenance Contracts
      Role: Principal Investigator
      Sponsor: The Texas Department of Transportation
      Duration: 11/08-12/09

    Current Projects




    Selected Publications

    1. Menches, C. L. and Chen, J. (2013). A diary study of the disruption experiences of crew members on a jobsite. Journal of Management in Engineering, In press.
    2. Menches, C. L. and Dorn, L. (2013). Emotional reaction to variations in contract language. Journal of Legal Affairs and Dispute Resolution in Engineering and Construction, In press.
    3. Menches, C. L. and Chen, J. (2012). Using ecological momentary assessments to understand a construction worker’s daily disruptions and decisions. Construction Management and Economics, In press.
    4. Menches, C. L. and Chen, J. (2012). Facilitating team decision-making through reimbursable contracting strategies. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 39(9), 1043-1052.
    5. Bauer, E. and Menches, C.L. (2011). Why we need renaissance engineers: Golden Gate Bridge seismic retrofit phase II case study. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. 137(10), 901-905.

    Professional Society Memberships

    Civil and Architectural Engineering
    3201 South Dearborn Street
    Room 228 Alumni Memorial Hall
    Chicago, IL 60616-3793
    Phone: 312.567.3540