Charles J. Carter, SE, PE, PhD, AISC’s president, has been named a 2018 Outstanding Engineering Alumnus by the Penn State College of Engineering.
Established in 1966, the Penn State Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed by the college and recognizes graduates who have reached exceptional levels of professional achievement.
Carter, along with the 11 other award recipients, will receive his award at a ceremony on April 23 at the Nittany Lion Inn on Penn State’s University Park campus.
“I was extremely humbled,” said Carter. “I see this award and the people who receive it as great people in education and industry. I am very honored.”
After learning about the architectural engineering discipline from a great uncle, Carter discovered Penn State’s Department of Architectural Engineering during a search in his high school guidance office. The department’s reputation as a top architectural engineering program and Penn State’s close proximity to his New Jersey home made his decision to attend an easy choice to make.
In 1990 and 1991, Carter received his bachelor of architectural engineering and master of science in architectural engineering, respectively, focusing his studies on structural engineering.
“You have an affinity for people who are your professors,” he said. “The [Penn State architectural engineering] professors weren’t just teaching; they were doing it. They challenged us. They taught us practical, preparatory lessons.”
Upon his graduation from Penn State, Carter began working at AISC as a staff engineer.
In the more than 25 years since joining AISC, Carter has received multiple promotions, continuing to rise through the organization. In 1994, he was promoted from staff engineer to senior staff engineer. In 1997, he became the director of manuals. He was promoted to director of engineering and continuing education in 2002. In 2004, he became chief structural engineer. A promotion to vice president and chief structural engineer came in 2008.
In these roles, Carter worked on a number of projects including the revamping of the AISC Code of Standard Practice, the creation of a unified Steel Construction Manual, the development of the organization’s first Seismic Design Manual and the expansion of AISC’s online continuing education offerings.
In December 2016, Carter was promoted to president of AISC, becoming the first internally promoted leader of the organization.
Throughout his career, Carter has been involved with various structural and building-related organizations. He has served as a member and secretary for AISC’s committee on manuals, the committee on specifications and the committee on the code of standard practice. He’s also served as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers/Structural Engineering Institute’s ASCE 7, ASCE 41 and design of steel building structures committees. Carter has served as the director of the Building Seismic Safety Council since 2012. He has been a member of the Chicago Committee on High-Rise Buildings since 2005 and chaired its scholarship committee from 2007 to 2016. Carter has also served on the Research Council on Structural Connections as a member of the specification committee since 1994 and as a director, vice chair and chair of its executive committee.
In 2009, Carter received his doctorate in civil and architectural engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a licensed Structural Engineer and Professional Engineer in Illinois. He lives in Downers Grove, Ill., with his wife Areti. Their daughter, Jami, works as a graphic designer.