Jim Wiethorn, Ph.D., P.E., is the current Chairman of the Board of Directors at Haag Engineering Co., as well as a Principal Engineer in the Houston office and a licensed engineer in 35 states. A third-generation general contractor, Wiethorn specializes in construction-related accidents, product design and operational issues, particularly dealing with crane operations. He has completed over 1,000 crane-related accident evaluations including but not limited to production, general and critical lifts; American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)/Occupational Safety and Health compliance of parties involved in lifts and operations; lift planning and design; crane safety programs; wind effects and analysis of mobile and tower cranes; pile driving systems, operations and design; heavy equipment operations; and numerous other crane-related issues.
Wiethorn established the Crane Group at Haag Engineering Co. which has implemented and developed precise scene documentation with the use of 3D Laser Scanning and spherical 360 photography. In 2014 he published the results of his study of the first 500 crane accidents, Crane Accidents: A Study of Causes & Trends to Create a Safer Work Environment, 1983-2013, in 2014. Additional publications include: Preserving Evidence with 3D Laser Scanning, Under Construction Vol. 12, No. 2- March 2010; Forensic Analysis in 3D, POB Point of Beginning, September 2008; Tower Crane Life Expectancy: An Examination of Recent Trends to Establish Age Limits, White Paper, January 2015; and Wind vs Tower Cranes, American Cranes & Transport, May 2016. In May 2018, Jim completed his doctoral dissertation, An Analysis of Critical Factors of Lift Planning to Improve Crane Safety Based on Forensic Causation of Crane Accidents at the University of Texas at Austin.
Wiethorn serves on the main committee of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) B30-Cranes and Derricks, as well as B30.3–Tower Crane sub-committee and B30.29-Self-Erecting Tower Cranes. Wiethorn also serves on the University of Texas Engineering Advisory Board in the Cockrell School of Engineering and on the Board of Advocates in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Baylor University. In 2008, the Cockrell School’s Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering elected Wiethorn to its Academy of Distinguished Alumni.