AISC to Honor Eight Leading Design and Construction Professionals at the 2019 NASCC: The Steel Conference

February 19, 2019

(Chicago, IL) - Eight leaders from across the structural steel design, construction and academic communities will be presented with prestigious awards by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) at the 2019  NASCC: The Steel Conference (April 3-5 in St. Louis). The awards presentation and opening keynote will take place on Wednesday, April 3, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the America's Center Convention Complex. AISC awards honor significant individuals who have made a difference in the success of the fabricated structural steel industry. Whether it's for an innovative design, an insightful technical paper or a lifetime of outstanding service, an AISC award bestows prestige and well-deserved recognition upon its recipient.

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 Lifetime Achievement Award winners are:

  • Michel Bruneau, PhD, P. Eng - Professor, University at Buffalo
    Bruneau has made major contributions to advancing the seismic design of steel structures for more than 30 years. This includes major contributions in the areas of special plate shear walls and eccentrically braced frames. The results of his research have been widely applied in the design of steel buildings and bridges, and his work has resulted in major additions to AISC’s Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel Buildings (AISC 341). Additionally, Bruneau has been a contributor and member of AISC Task Committees since 2001, and has also made major contributions in the areas of blast resistance and multi-hazard design.

  • John P. Cross, PE, LEED AP - Consultant, Former Vice President (Retired), American Institute of Steel Construction
    Prior to his recent retirement, Cross was responsible for developing industry information to communicate the benefits of structural steel to key decision makers. In addition, he developed economic forecasts, tracked market statistics and represented the structural steel industry on various standards and code bodies dealing with sustainability and resilience. He is a well-respected expert in the structural steel industry and has been actively involved in the engineering community for more than four decades. He also has authored more than 50 publications on various industry topics.

  • David B. Ratterman - Senior Member of Stites & Harbison, PLLC and Former AISC General Counsel
    Ratterman is an attorney and graduate engineer who concentrates his practice on construction law issues and formerly served as Secretary and General Counsel of AISC. Ratterman has been an officer or advisor to 12 industry trade organizations and professional societies involved in the international fabricated structural steel industry. He has been lead trial counsel for numerous structural steel fabricators and other contractors, design professionals, material suppliers and construction owners involved in complex matters in litigation, arbitration and construction mediation. Ratterman is a prolific author and speaker on a wide variety of construction law topics and he has presented or published in excess of 50 research papers, technical papers and articles. Additionally, he has participated in or moderated numerous panel discussions on construction law topics at a wide variety of domestic and international academic symposia.

  • Doug Rutledge - Chief Integration Officer, KL&A Inc.
    Rutledge is honored for the development and implementation of numerous innovations and inventions unique to structural engineering and steel construction. He is the inventor and patent-holder of the CorTek stay-in-place modular forming system, which allows stair and elevator cores to be pre-manufactured from steel products, then installed and filled with concrete on-site. Additionally, he founded and operated Rutledge Steel Company (eventually employing over 100 workers). As an independent steel industry consultant, Rutledge has assisted clients with claim preparation and recovery, design of computer estimating systems, training of project management personnel, productivity assessments, constructability evaluations and turnaround plans.

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:

  • Matthew Yarnold, PE, PhD - Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University
    Yarnold focuses on research related to steel bridge design, performance and monitoring, including local buckling of trapezoidal rib orthotropic bridge decks, rapid testing of steel bridges, and hot rolled singly symmetric I-beams. In addition to his research, Yarnold focuses on teaching, where he strives to bridge the gap between classroom education and engineering practice. He provides his students with an opportunity to experience structural engineering projects first hand through construction site tours and steel mill tours. His real-world experiences help contribute to the knowledge-base of his lectures and allow him to provide a unique view of the industry as he explains steel class topics and implements models in class.

  • Matthew Hebdon, PE, PhD - Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech University
    Hebdon has broad experience in the steel industry, with current and recent research in fatigue and fracture, redundancy of steel bridge systems, bridge monitoring and testing, steel corrosion and mitigation, historic steel fabrication methods, evaluation and rehabilitation of deteriorated steel structures, and large-scale testing of structures. He has a passion for steel from the material level to the structural level, and will continue to engage with stakeholders in the steel bridge, fabrication and building sectors to propel steel innovation and research.

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:

  • Heather Gilmer, PE - Steel Operations Manager, HRV Conformance VerificationAssociates, Inc.
    Gilmer is recognized for leading the development of both the S2.1 Steel Bridge Fabrication Guide Specification and G2.2 Guidelines for Resolution of Steel Bridge Fabrication Errors. Gilmer is dedicated to accuracy and is recognized amongst her peers for her accomplishments in steel bridge fabrication specification development and implementation. Known for her integrity and tenacity, Gilmer combines strong fabrication knowledge and excellent linguistic skills to lead others in the bridge community to develop the best specification.

  • Francesco M. Russo, PE, PhD - Vice President & Technical Director, Bridge Engineering, Michael Baker International
    Russo is recognized for his contributions to the advancement of knowledge in inspection and emergency rehabilitation of complex steel structures. Russo is unquestionably one of the top engineers in the area of structural steel bridge design and the behavior of complex bridges. Known for his collaborative way of bringing engineers together to tackle complicated engineering problems, he has worked on a number of high-profile and high-pressure failure investigations. In addition to his stature as a practicing engineer, Russo has demonstrated himself as an educator through the numerous steel bridge articles he has authored and the short courses and college level courses he has taught.

For more information about The Steel Conference, visit To learn more about AISC's award programs, visit


Row one, left to right: Michel Bruneau, John Cross, David B. Ratterman, Doug Rutledge;
Row two, left to right: Matthew Yarnold, Matthew Hebdon, Heather Gilmer, Francesco M. Russo.


High-quality headshots of the award recipients are available upon request by contacting AISC's Jenna Carpentier at or 312.670.5407. 


For more information contact:

Dani Friedland
Director of Marketing Communications

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, market development, and advocacy. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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