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NSSA executive director and Texas Tech professor dies

Dr. Ernst Kiesling
Dr. Ernst Kiesling(Texas Tech University)
Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 10:33 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Dr. Ernst Kiesling, the former executive director of the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) and Texas Tech Wind Engineering professor, died Thursday night of cardiac issues, according to the president of the NSSA.

Kiesling pioneered above-ground storm shelter technology and design. He was a professor at Tech when the historic 1970 tornado struck Lubbock, and he helped found the NSSA after an F5 tornado struck Oklahoma City in 1999. The NSSA was founded in 2001, and Kiesling was appointed executive director, according to The Wendish Research Exchange.

Kiesling has been called “the father of the safe room” for his work in storm shelter design and standards development. He continued to work with the NSSA, in addition to FEMA, the ICC and the Federal Alliance for Safe Houses (FLASH).

“Dr. Kiesling was the long-time backbone of the NSSA... He was, as always, serving the NSSA and the storm shelter industry, and we are forever grateful for his leadership and friendship,” said Michelle Barbee, the president of the NSSA.

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