Sissy Nikolaou has been named a principal multi-hazards and geotechnical engineer in the New York office of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, a global engineering and professional services organization.


In her new position, Dr. Nikolaou is responsible for the firm’s multi-hazard resilience engineering practice as well as applying her expertise in the fields of geotechnical and earthquake engineering. Working closely with the buildings and infrastructure sectors, Dr. Nikolaou will provide one-stop creative lasting solutions to address the big picture of resilience in quantifiable terms of life safety, structural risk, and interdependency of systems and service interruption using the best possible science and technology.

Dr. Nikolaou’s technical capabilities range from structural to geotechnical and seismological engineering with emphasis on performance-based design, seismic hazard analysis, liquefaction evaluation and mitigation, soil-structure interaction, and risk/resiliency assessment of critical facilities under extreme events. Prior to joining WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, Dr. Nikolaou was a senior associate with a New York foundation engineering firm, where she established and directed the organization’s geoseismic services. In the Eastern United States, she is known for bringing earthquake awareness and establishing seismic design standards addressing the regional geology and tectonics, including chairing the seismic committee for the current New York City building code. Around the globe, she has provided geoseismic services for large projects in earthquake-prone areas and has contributed to seismic regulations.

Her experience of more than 20 years includes technical leadership and management of numerous geotechnical and seismic designs and retrofits including the new Tappan Zee Bridge, the AirTrain to JFK Airport, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and Headquarters of the National Institutes of Health outside of Washington, D.C., and the Queensboro and Robert F. Kennedy (Triboro) bridges. She has also worked on projects in Canada, Mexico, Panama, Greece, Germany, Middle East, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand. She has applied her expertise on numerous New York projects including the World Trade Center Tower 1, Gehry Beekman tower, U.S. Tennis Association facilities, and Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus as well as international projects in Mexico City developments including Torre Mayor and several Torre Reforma buildings.

Dr. Nikolaou received her diploma in structural engineering from the National Technical University in Athens, Greece, and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in earthquake/geotechnical engineering from the University at Buffalo, where she is now a member of the advisory board for the dean of engineering. She is licensed professional engineer in New York, director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), and advisory panel member of the Geotechnical Extreme Event Reconnaissance (GEER) Association, and has been part of reconnaissance and recovery missions after disasters including 9-11, Hurricane Sandy, and several earthquakes worldwide.

For her contributions, Dr. Nikolaou has been recognized with the Prakash Prize for Excellence in Earthquake Engineering, the Fellow title of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and was recently invited by President Obama to participate in the 2016 White House Earthquake Resilience Summit.

About WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff
WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, one of the world's leading engineering and professional services consulting firms, provides services designed to transform the built environment and restore the natural one. The firm’s expertise ranges from environmental remediation and urban planning, to engineering iconic buildings and designing sustainable transport networks, to developing the energy sources of the future and enabling new ways of extracting essential resources. Approximately 34,000 employees, including engineers, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors, program and construction management professionals, as well as various environmental experts, work for this dynamic organization in more than 500 offices across 40 countries worldwide.