Former AISC President Neil Zundel Dies

Neil ZundelNeil Zundel, AISC’s president from 1984-1995, passed away on March 15 at the age of 90. Zundel is widely credited for revitalizing the Institute, creating a pathway for increased market share for structural steel and forging closer ties between fabricators and steel producers.

“Neil brought an era of dynamic leadership and professional management to the office of AISC president during a period in which the industry experienced a severe and prolonged recession,” said H. Louis Gurthet, Zundel’s successor as AISC president. “His optimism and confidence guided AISC to maintain our high standards and capabilities for the structural design and construction community during this critical time. Neil’s legacy of professional management positioned AISC for dynamic growth in the years following his tenure.”

A graduate of Princeton University, where he excelled not just academically but also on the football and baseball fields (he was even offered a contract by the Detroit Tigers), he forged a long career with Reynolds Aluminum, eventually becoming group vice president and then president of the company’s German division.

Zundel’s imprint is widely felt in many of AISC’s successes, including the revitalization of theCode of Standard Practice, clarification of the long-standing controversy over design responsibility and the development of new seismic standards following the Northridge Earthquake. But he often said his proudest development at AISC was the growth of the Institute’s university programs. As Zundel once explained, “We’ve developed design guides on the university level to help professors teach steel design. And we’ve helped create excitement among students through the National Steel Bridge-Building Competition. We need to continue this effort to help convince students that steel is not a mature industry but instead is still exciting and evolving.”

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