Intera Geosciences and Engineering logo
Max Sheppard

Contact Max Sheppard

Telephone: 352-332-2323


Max Sheppard, PhD
Principal Engineer

Dr. Sheppard has over 40 years of experience in fluid dynamics and coastal engineering and is internationally recognized for his research and contributions for predicting bridge scour and wave loading on horizontal bridge span structures. He has worked actively in the fields of stratified flows, internal waves, bridge scour, structure induced scour, coastal and ocean hydrodynamics/processes, aeolian sand transport, response of ocean structures to hydrodynamic loading, hydrodynamic forces on fixed and floating structures, storm surge and wave loading on bridge superstructures and the use of neural networks to estimate pile penetration depths for bridges with unknown foundations. Prior to joining INTERA in 2013, Dr. Sheppard led the civil, coastal and oceanographic engineering consulting firm, Ocean Engineering Associates (OEA), a company he founded in 1987 in Gainesville Florida. 

Dr. Sheppard's contributions to the understanding of local scour processes and the methods for predicting design scour depths are many. The equations that he developed for predicting bridge scour have been adopted by the Florida DOT as the standard for predicting sediment scour for bridge foundations and they have also been used in the design of a number of high profile bridges in other states. Dr. Sheppard’s research in wave loading on horizontal bridge structures includes wave tank tests with a model bridge span instrumented with load cells, pressure transducers and wet/dry sensors. The tests with both model slab and girder type spans covered a wide range of wave conditions and span locations relative to the still water level. The objective of this research is to not only measure the total horizontal and vertical forces and moments acting on the span, but also to distinguish the various components and distributions of these forces. Predictive equations for the wave-induced forces and moments were developed as part of this research. A proprietary computer program (PBM) was developed at OEA to evaluate the predictive equations. This program was used to generate forces for prototype bridge spans under a wide range of met/ocean conditions. This data was used by OEA in the development of the parametric equations recently adopted by AASHTO

Prior to founding OEA, Dr. Sheppard served as a tenured professor at the University of Florida from 1969 to 2004 and since that time has served as Professor Emeritus. In 1981, on leave from the university, he became Chief Oceanographer and Head of the Oceanography Group at the Mobil Research and Development Corporation in Dallas, Texas.


  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Arizona State University, 1969
  • M.S.,  Mechanical Engineering, Texas A & M University, 1962
  • B.S.,  Mechanical Engineering, Lamar State University, 1960