UNION COUNTY — A Clemson University professor and department chair with ties to Union County will be the guest speaker at the 33rd Freedom Fund Banquet of the NAACP this Saturday.
Dr. James (Jimmy) R. Martin, is Chair and Professor of the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University. A Union County native, he is the son of the late James R. and Dora T. Martin.
Dr. Martin will serve as the guest speaker at the NAACP’s Freedom Fund Banquet which will be held Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Pacolet River Baptist Association.
Dr. Martin was formerly Director of the Institute for Disaster Risk Management (DRM) at Virginia Tech where he served on the civil engineering faculty for more than 20 years. His main research and teaching interests include earthquake and foundation engineering, soil and site improvement, earthquake hazard analysis, and thermo-active foundations. He has directed field and laboratory engineering research programs for international and national funding agencies and private sponsors since 1990. Dr. Martin also frequently performs post-event field investigations of large-scale worldwide disasters.
A primary focus of Martin’s research and professional work has been directed toward the advancement of building code provisions in the central and eastern United States to reduce earthquake risks. In recent years, he led efforts at Virginia Tech to develop DRM, a university research center and graduate education program that reached across disciplinary boundaries to address emerging global disaster risk and resilience challenges. DRM integrated faculty from four different colleges and five departments, including researchers from engineering, business & economics, and social sciences. Dr. Martin is leading the strategic development of similar cross-cutting programs at Clemson. He is particularly committed to creating broader access to world-class educational opportunities for the citizens of South Carolina.
Dr. Martin has served as a professional engineering consultant on over 100 major national and international civil infrastructure projects, such as nuclear power plants, large dams, essential bridges and buildings, and other critical facilities. He has provided professional services for more than 75 different private firms and agencies, such as USACE, FEMA, FERC, and the NRC.
In addition to his engineering career, he is an advocate for patients suffering from chronic illnesses, especially physical disabilities such as Multiple Sclerosis. He is a frequent motivational speaker and has completed two manuscripts for book publication. In It’s Raining and Buying Time, he explores the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical challenges of living with a disability. He has the goal of establishing a foundation to improve the quality of life for patients with chronic illnesses.
Dr. Martin has received numerous national, state, and university awards for teaching, research, and professional service, including the American Society of Civil Engineer’s Norman Medal. He received the B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech.
Also speaking at the banquet will be City of Union Mayor Harold Thompson; NAACP Union County Branch President James R. Rice; Rev. Geoffrey Stephens, Pastor of Red Hill Baptist Church, will deliver the invocation; Maxine Spencer will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies and will be introduced by Rossi Hames; Audrey B. Robinson will present the welcome; Julius Tucker will speak about the membership drive; and Joseph Walker will speak on church mobilization.
Dinner will be served preceded by the saying of grace by Rev. Charles Jennings.
Music will also be part of the evening with performances of Lift Every Voice and Sing and One Purpose.