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AISC to Award 12 Top Professionals at NASCC: The Steel Conference

Parul Dubey on February 28, 2017 - in Corporate, Events, News

(Chicago, IL) – Twelve leaders from across the structural steel design, construction and academic community will be presented with awards by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) at the 2017 NASCC: The Steel Conference (March 22-24 in San Antonio). Roger E. Ferch, PE, will receive the Robert P. Stupp Award for Leadership Excellence, one of the Institute’s highest honors. Rex Lewis and Stephen E. Porter will be honored with the Chairman’s Award for outstanding service as members of the AISC Board of Directors. Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to David Harwell, Edward T. Hazeldine, Roberto T. Leon, PE, PhD, DM ASCE, and Edward P. Wasserman, PE, and Special Achievement Awards will be given to Domenic A. Coletti, PE, Amit Kanvinde, PhD, and Amit H. Varma, PhD. In addition, Patricia M. Clayton, PhD, and Hussam Mahmoud, PhD, will receive the Early Career Faculty Award.

The Robert P. Stupp Award for Leadership Excellence is one of the Institute’s highest honors and is given in special recognition to individuals who have provided unparalleled leadership in the steel construction industry.

  • Roger E. Ferch, PE, has been selected to receive the prestigious Stupp Award. Active in the fabricated structural steel industry for more than 40 years, he was successful in supervising various departments of The Herrick Corporation, one of the nation’s leading fabricators, and served on the AISC Board of Directors for nearly a decade, playing a pivotal role in advancing AISC’s research and engineering programs. His greatest impact has been as former president of AISC, where he’s best known for reintegrating the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA) into AISC, his broad range of activities to bring unity to the entire structural steel industry, and his emphasis on developing a proactive staff to advance the mission of the Institute. Under his leadership, AISC issued the first unified (LRFD and ASD) steel manual, continued its leadership in BIM, and moved from a checklist-based certification program to a standards-based program.

The Chairman’s Award is given on an as-needed basis and honors those who have provided significant, sustained and outstanding service as a member of the AISC Board of Directors and have contributed to the success of AISC and the structural steel industry.

  • Rex Lewis, president of Puma Steel, will be honored with the Chairman’s Award for his significant contributions to the AISC Board of Directors, including his past service as chair, and for his well-known support of early fabricator involvement and green construction.
  • Stephen E. Porter, past president of Indiana Steel Fabricating, Inc., will be honored with the Chairman’s Award for his significant contributions to the AISC Board of Directors, including his past service as chair, as well as his heavy involvement in regional activities and past service as president of the Central Fabricators Association.

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals who have made a difference in AISC’s and the structural steel industry’s success and provides special recognition to those who have provided outstanding service over a sustained period of years to AISC and the structural steel design/construction/academic community. This year’s award recipients are:

  • David Harwell, president of Central Texas Iron Works, Inc. A long-time and very influential fabricator, he is also a long-time AISC board member and past chair. He is best known for three outstanding achievements: his emphasis on and promotion of the importance of safety in the shop; his oversight of the AISC Certification Program during its development as a much more rigorous program; and his advancement of AISC’s technology programs.
  • Edward T. Hazledine, president and CEO of Benchmark Fabricated Steel. He has been deeply involved with AISC for much of his career. He has served on the research committee and has been a great volunteer in speaking about fabrication to engineers and fabricators, and has frequently spoken to students at Purdue University and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He regularly opens his shop for tours and has donated both time and material for AISC and academic requests. He was an early proponent of AISC’s early involvement initiative and has worked with other fabricators to help educate them about this initiative. He has also been very active in the Central Fabricators Association.
  • Roberto T. Leon, PE, PhD, DM ASCE, D.H. Burrows professor of construction engineering at Virginia Tech. He has made significant and sustained contributions to the academic community, to the structural engineering profession, to the structural steel industry and to AISC since completing his PhD and starting his academic career in 1984. He has made important research contributions in numerous areas, and his broad body of work on composite steel-concrete members and systems has had a major impact on the AISC Specification. He was pivotal in the development of several multi-university research initiatives, notably through the Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering and the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation. He has also provided leadership to many professional organizations and has served on AISC’s committee on specifications and various technical committees. His research and professional accomplishments have been recognized with a number of major awards, including the AISC T.R. Higgins Award, AISC Special Achievement Award, the ASCE Norman Medal and the SEI Presidential Award.
  • Edward P. Wasserman, PE, senior engineer at Modjeski and Masters, for his leadership within the bridge community and his contributions to the advancement of steel bridge technology. During his time as chairman of the AASHTO T-14 technical committee for structural steel design he championed a multi-year research project that involved a complete overhaul of the AASHTO specifications to simplify the design of straight and curved steel girders, which resulted in more cost-effective steel designs. He was always quick to engage the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) in the development and testing of new design strategies or construction innovations. As such, TDOT built the first high-performance steel (HPS) bridge in 1998 which helped propel the use of the material across the country. Additionally, he co-authored “Integral Abutments for Steel Bridges,” a chapter in the NSBA Highway Structures Design Handbook, codifying the design procedure for a construction practice that is instrumental to extending the service life of steel bridges.

The Special Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated notable achievements in structural steel design, construction, research or education. It honors those who have made a positive and substantial impact on the structural steel design and construction industry. This year’s award recipients are:

  • Domenic A. Coletti, PE, technical manager – structural engineering at Michael Baker International, for leading the AASHTO/NSBA Steel Bridge Collaboration’s Task Group 13 in developing and publishing the first two editions of Guidelines for Steel Girder Bridge Analysis. These guidelines present a framework of information in a concise, single source to provide designers with insight into the expected behavior of steel girder bridges and the relative merits of different analysis techniques with the intention of helping designers make the most effective use of the analysis methods they chose. The educational benefits of these documents are especially beneficial for less experienced designers. Moreover, this work is representative of his volunteer spirit throughout the bridge design community.
  • Amit Kanvinde, PhD, professor and chair at the University of California, Davis, for his research on column connection details including requirements for column splices, which permit the use of partial joint penetration (PJP) joints, and column bases, which provide shear mechanism study and stiffness models for exposed and embedded column bases.
  • Amit H. Varma, PhD, professor at Purdue University, for facilitating the development, design and licensing of the next generation of nuclear power plants in the U.S. and around the world by developing fundamental knowledge in terms of experimental data, numerical models and design specifications for steel-concrete composite (SC) walls and connections.

The Early Career Faculty Award provides recognition to faculty who demonstrate promise in the areas of structural steel research, teaching and/or other contributions to the structural steel industry. This year’s recipients are:

  • Patricia M. Clayton, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin. In her three years at UT Austin, Clayton has brought a tremendous energy, enthusiasm and passion for teaching and research. She has taught four different classes in elements of steel design, probability and statistics, earthquake design and advanced structural materials. In every class she has had incredible student evaluations, placing her near the top of all faculty at the university. Many students have commented that she is the best teacher that they have ever had among all of their classes at UT Austin. She has also hit the ground running on research. She is currently co-principal on six ongoing research projects funded either by the National Science Foundation or by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Several of these projects are focused on structural steel buildings or bridges, and all have the potential for improving the economy and competitiveness of structural steel for the building and bridge markets. Looking to the future, she is very interested in modular steel building construction as a means of decreasing construction time and cost. In addition, she’s become involved in various professional committee activities and has made significant efforts to mentor students outside the classroom. She serves as the faculty advisor to a number of student organizations and has worked on a number of outreach activities in the local Austin Independent School District in an effort to attract young students to engineering.
  • Hussam Mahmoud, PhD, assistant professor and director, structural laboratory, at Colorado State University. He is a key member of the structures faculty at CSU where he teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses on behavior and design of steel structures to highly laudatory reviews. His research focuses on fatigue and fracture assessment of steel structures, and the response of steel structures under extreme single and multiple hazards. He is equally strong in analytical and experimental research. His recently developed ductile fracture model has been validated against experimental studies and has been shown to yield accurate predictions. He has also conducted various studies on the response of steel structures under single and multiple hazards, including fire, fire following earthquakes, wind and earthquake effects. In addition to his teaching and research talents, he has been an outstanding campus citizen. He has served as the civil engineering department’s ASCE student chapter faculty advisor for the past four years and as a member of the university’s graduate school alliance for graduate education and professoriate faculty, which is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded program to promote faculty diversity.

Headshots of the award recipients are available upon request by contacting AISC’s Tasha Weiss at [email protected] or 312.670.5439. For more information about The Steel Conference, visit www.aisc.org/nascc. To learn more about AISC’s award programs, visit www.aisc.org/awards.


For more information contact:

Tasha Weiss
Communications Department
[email protected]

American Institute of Steel Construction

The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a non-partisan, not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information.

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