In This Section

T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award

Congratulations to our 2020 T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award Winner, Bo Dowswell!

Bo Dowswell started in the steel industry in 1985 as a detailer. Since then, he earned BS, MS,
and PhD degrees from Auburn University and The University of Alabama at Birmingham. As a
professional engineer, his design practice focuses on steel structures. Currently, he is principal of
both SDS Consulting, a design firm, and ARC International, which specializes in research and
consulting. Bo Dowswell is also an adjunct professor at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, where his research and teaching is concentrated on steel connection design. Additionally, he provides consulting services for the AISC Steel Solutions Center.

Bo Dowswell is the author of AISC Design Guide 33--Curved Member Design, and he regularly
publishes technical articles on steel design. He is a member of several AISC Committees,
including the Committee on Specifications, the Committee on Manuals, the Committee on
Research and the Task Group on Industrial Buildings and Nonbuilding Structures. Bo Dowswell is also a member of the Structural Stability Research Council, where his activities are primarily related to connection element and beam stability.

Bo Dowswell's 2020 TR. Higgins Lecture is titled "Gusset Plates: The Evolution of Simplified Design Models." 

What is the T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award? 

Each year, AISC's T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award recognizes an outstanding lecturer and author whose technical paper or papers, published during the eligibility period, are considered an outstanding contribution to the engineering literature on fabricated structural steel.

The award is named for Theodore R. Higgins, former AISC Director of Engineering and Research, who was widely acclaimed for his many contributions to the advancement of engineering technology related to fabricated structural steel. The award honors Higgins for his innovative engineering, timely technical papers, and distinguished lectures.

Winners will receive a framed certificate, which is presented at NASCC: The Steel Conference. Winners receive a $15,000 cash award and will present their lecture, upon request, at professional association events.


The current T.R. Higgins lecturer is Ronald D. Ziemian, who received the 2019 T.R. Higgins Award at NASCC: The Steel Conference in St. Louis in April 2019. Ziemian's lecture is titled "Structural Stability - Letting the Fundamentals Guide Your Judgment." 


If your organization is interested in hosting a T.R. Higgins lecture, contact Christina Harber, director of education, at AISC reimburses the speaker's travel expenses for qualifying events.


Theodore R. Higgins joined the Institute in 1940 as chief engineer and was its director of Engineering and Research from 1945 to 1968. During his tenure, he was involved in all aspects of the Institute's wide variety of research activities. He played an especially prominent role in the more than 20 years of research, which led to the development of plastic design techniques for steel structures. Theodore authored the Institute's first manual on plastic design, Plastic Design in Steel.

A resolution adopted by the Institute's Board of Directors honored Higgins for his unparalleled service to the structural steel industry. The resolution defines him as a pioneer in developing the research and engineering principles which form the basis of steel design and construction today. "Theodore Higgins possessed that unique ability to translate research results into practical applications," the resolution reads.


The next T.R. Higgins lecturer is Bo Dowswell, who will receive the 2020 T.R. Higgins Award at NASCC: The Steel Conference in Atlanta in April. Bo Dowswell's 2020 lecture is titled "Gusset Plates: The Evolution of Simplified Design Models." 


Each year AISC invites a distinguished panel of industry experts to judge the nominations for the T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award. The jury reflects a blend of professional insight, industry experience, and academic excellence.

The following jurors have been selected to judge the nominations for the 2020 award:

Robert Chmielowski
Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Seattle, WA
Chris Crosby
Cianbro Fabrication
Georgetown, MA
Carol Drucker
Drucker Zajdel Structural Engineers, Inc.
Chicago, IL
Mike Engelhardt
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX
Louis Geschwindner
Penn State University
State College, PA
Mike Marian
PVS Structures
Carter Lake, IA