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Tilt-Up Awards | Professional

Peter Courtois Memorial Award Winners

Peter Courtois immeasurably contributed to the Tilt-Up industry through his tireless effort and dedication to several industry associations.

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The awards listed below are given to individuals and companies who exhibit the highest levels of committment to advancement and innovation within the Tilt-Up industry and its member organizations.

It is presented during the annual TCA Tilt-Up Expo and Convention.

2017 - Joseph Steinbicker , P.E., S.E

2016 - Ralph Korte

2014 - Richard J. McPherson, P.E.

HA registered engineer (P.E.) in 30 States and Canada, Richard J. McPherson, P.E., Chairman of the Board for Seretta Construction, received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1963 and in 1970 earned his M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Houston. McPherson was a frequent lecturer for the College of Engineering at the University of Houston and also lectured for the College of Architecture at Rice University and the Concrete Management Program at Middle Tennessee State University where he was invited to lead the development of the Concrete Management Degree Program curriculum. This curriculum was presented to the Board of Regents in order to establish the CIM program that exists today.
In 1963, while working as a field superintendent for a concrete contractor, McPherson both designed and built his first tilt-up project, an addition to a furniture warehouse in Houston. He was the design engineer and was also the concrete superintendent on site. Throughout the 1960s, McPherson worked as a design engineer at petrochemical companies and freelanced as an independent design engineer. One of his earliest clients was K-Mart, for whom he designed tilt-up projects throughout the United States.

In 1970, McPherson started the design firm McPherson, Mitchell & Moore in Houston and in 1973 broke away from the partners and formed McPherson Engineering. In 1975, he began offering complete A/E design services and worked closely on many tilt-up projects with one of the largest developers in Texas, The Vantage Companies. Additionally, McPherson Engineering worked with a national cemetery company where they incorporated their experience in tilt-up into cemetery work, designing tilt-up mausoleums throughout the United States. McPherson continued to expand the application of tilt-up to a variety of building types including retail, industrial, distribution, office and one of the first tilt-up emergency operations facilities in the country.

With no third-party services for lifting and bracing design readily available at the time, McPherson designed the systems himself. Many times the braces had to be improvised. Whereas a building code for tilt-up was not in existence at the time, many county building departments hesitated to approve McPherson’s designs, as there was not much precedent. Facing constant resistance from building departments, contractors and owners unfamiliar with the method, McPherson spent countless hours and resources articulating and demonstrating the advantages of tilt-up.

To take more control over the process, in 1977 McPherson opened R. Joseph & Co. in Houston, which was the construction arm of the design firm. The general contracting company self-performed its concrete work as well as its own roof work and millwork. Ten years later, McPherson decided to focus on concrete and formed Seretta Construction, Inc. in Orlando, Fla. At the time, there was little, if any, tilt-up in Florida so he spent most of the first few years doing design conversions of CMU structures to tilt-up and again trying to convince general contractors and owners to use the system. Florida’s acceptance of the method of construction did not come quickly or easily. McPherson served as engineer of record on numerous projects during the early years in Florida as many of the engineers did not have experience with tilt-up.

Today, Seretta Construction, one of the largest tilt-up contractors in the United States, works throughout the country, has offices in Orlando, Charlotte and Austin, and is approaching 30 years in business.

2013 - Preston Haskell, PE, Chairman at Haskell

Haskell founded The Haskell Company in 1965. He was instrumental in the formation of the Design-Build Institute of America and served as its founding chairman. As a frequent speaker on design-build delivery and the author of many articles on the subject, he is well-respected in the industry. Haskell is an active community member over a wide range of industry, cultural and charitable institutions. He has served on the board for the American Society of Civil Engineers (CEFI), is a member of the Florida Council of 100, and the National Academy of Construction. He is an honors graduate of Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and received a Master of Business degree with distinction from Harvard Business School. Haskell also attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology for graduate study in building engineering and construction.

“Haskell is a contemporary visionary. His insightful understanding of tilt-up advantages coupled with his passion for Design/Build (he is the founding Chairman of DBIA) has lead the Haskell Company to be consistently acknowledged as an industry leader,” said Bob Foley, president, The Foley Group, LLC. “The Haskell Company is an inaugural member of TCA, joining in 1986. Recognizing him with the 2013 Peter Courtois Award truly honors the memory of Pete Courtois.”

2012 - Jim Churchman, posthumously of Butler Hardwall

An active member of the ACI 551 committee for several years, Jim Churchman was instrumental in the effort to combine tilt-up construction with the pre-engineered steel building industry through his many years at Butler Hardwall. He was one of the main developers of the Butler Delta Joist roof framing system, which was created mainly to accommodate hard wall systems such as tilt-up with pre-engineered steel framing. His efforts to produce viable solutions to upgrade buildings for a company known for pre-engineered metal buildings established another network of tilt-up professionals during a critical growth period for the industry.

"Jim was emphatic that tilt-up was the future for building types where steel deck and joist systems were being implemented," said Jim Baty, Technical Director for the TCA. "Early in my career, he was particularly vocal on the advantages he saw in tilt-up and how many opportunities there were for contractors to increase the work on projects they held responsibility on rather than hiring masonry sub-contractors to deliver durable buildings."

"Jim was an extremely talented structural engineer," said Joe Steinbicker founder and president of Tilt-Up Design Systems. "He never hesitated to question why something couldn't be done a new or better way. This search for new solutions is what led him to develop a system at Butler Manufacturing to use tilt-up effectively in combination with their pre-engineered steel buildings, expanding the market for the tilt-up industry."

2011 - Sherman D. Balch, Principal at Balch Enterprises

A tireless promoter of Tilt-Up for decades, Sherman D. Balch served as member of the TCA Board of Directors for six years, including a term as president in 2001. For several years, Sherman, along with Shawn Hickey, led a preparation course for the ACI/TCA Certification program, which helped to grow the program and increase participation. He was a frequent speaker touting the benefits of Tilt-Up and educating others about the possibilities available with the method. In addition to Sherman's personal efforts, his firm, Balch Enterprises, set a new standard for building form through the use of subtle and dramatic curves at building corners and along building elevations. He continues to pursue new concepts for Tilt-Up through Extollo International, a non-profit organization focusing on bringing building technology education to the country of Haiti, expanding their rebuilding effort.

"Sherman's leadership in the industry came at a critical time where designers were challenging the industry to expand the palette of form and finish. His commitment to education for emerging Tilt-Up professionals as well as a career dedicated to producing challenging examples of Tilt-Up excellence have set the standard for many contractors that have followed in his footsteps," said Jim Baty, technical director of TCA.

"It is a great honor and I am humbled by the award as there are so many hard working men and women that have contributed so much to the TCA," said Balch.

2010 - Bob Foley, President of The Foley Group

As one of the founding members of the TCA, Bob Foley served on board of directors from 1986-1996 and was president of the association in 1988. Prior to his retirement at the end of 2008, he served as president of CON/STEEL Tilt-Up Systems, an international network of general contractors licensed to perform Tilt-Up.

During his 34-year tenure with CON/STEEL and its parent company, LJB, Inc., Foley was an active member of the Tilt-Up industry. A licensed professional engineer, he also served on ACI’s 551 Committee and is well known for his efforts to spread the word about the merits of Tilt-Up. In 2007, Concrete Construction named Foley one of the 10 Most Influential People in Concrete. Upon his retirement from CON/STEEL Tilt-Up Systems, he founded The Foley Group, LLC to assist manufacturers in the evaluation, testing and introduction of new products into the concrete industry.

“Bob Foley is a pioneer in the Tilt-Up franchising arena,” said Jim Baty, technical director of the TCA. “Bob helped grow the Tilt-Up industry and energize contractors about the building method. He has been a tireless promoter of Tilt-Up and an active supporter of the TCA for decades.”

"I am honored to be recognized by my peers with the Peter Courtois Memorial Award,” said Foley. “Peter was a good friend and my mentor. He was a driving force in the founding of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association in 1986. I am humbled to be recognized with the industry leaders who have preceded me in receiving this award and I take great satisfaction in seeing the spectacular advancements the Tilt-Up industry has made over the past 24 years. The leadership and membership of TCA can take pride their continuing contribution to our ever growing industry."

2009 - Gerry Miller, founding partner at Miller Valentine Group

Gerry Miller introduced design/build Tilt-Up to the Midwest in the early 1970s, and it was his concept that led to the founding of CON/STEEL Tilt-Up Systems. His leadership allowed Miller-Valentine to become a major force in the Tilt-Up industry through critical growing years as they fostered the growth beyond the big box by pioneering many multi-story office applications and other projects unique at the time.

2008 - Malcom Davis, President of Advanced Building Systems Pty Ltd

A pioneer in the truest sense of the word, Malcolm Davis sponsored many programs in conjunction with the design and construction industry in Australia to promote Tilt-Up in the early 1980s. When Davis began these promotional efforts, there were only a handful of Tilt-Up projects in Australia, but by 1985, his efforts had resulted in about 200 projects. He helped launch and then served as the first president of the Australian Tilt-Up Concrete Association. He has also been an instrumental pioneer for Tilt-Up development in South Africa and other regions.

2007 - Robert E. Tobin

Tobin was a highly-respected, nationally-recognized authority in the concrete industry. His remarkable career spans 60 years and includes more than 28 years with the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and its consulting subsidiary, Construction Technology Laboratories, Inc. Involved in the early days of Tilt-Up construction, Tobin spearheaded efforts in the development of methods for pumping concrete. Known as “Mr. Concrete” or “The Ultimate Concrete Technologist,” his practical approaches in the fields of evaluation, testing and the design of construction materials proved to be effective in the development of several new testing methodologies.

"During the development of the formal PCA manual, Tilt-Up Load Bearing Walls, and prior to it, Bob had come up with simplified methods that approximated the behavior of slender walls,” said Dr. Koladi Kripanarayanan, the 2005 recipient of the Peter Courtois award. “These methods helped in the understanding of the behavior and eventually to the commitment of PCA towards the development of the manual. He also helped in the marketing of the Tilt-Up methodology to the design profession.”

2006 - David L. Kelly

Kelly, a long-term member of the TCA Board of Directors, holds several patents on Tilt-Up erection, bracing, forming and structural hardware components. A member of the Tilt-Up industry for more than forty years, he has been responsible for setting the design criteria on more than 3.5 million Tilt-Up panels and has served as the engineer of record for more than 200 buildings. Kelly is a Registered Professional Engineer and frequent speaker on Tilt-Up in several states, as well as Canada and Australia. A member of the ACI 551 Committee, Kelly also served as president of the TCA in 1990.

“Dave Kelly's commitment and early belief in the Tilt-Up concrete building system is one of the important foundations of Tilt-Up concrete technology,” said Glen Stephens, president of Stephens Architectural Associates and a past president of the TCA.

“Dave is always looking for new approaches to deliver ever better solutions. His recognition and acknowledgement is extremely well deserved.”

2005 - Koladi M. Kripanarayanan

Author of Tilt-Up Load-Bearing Walls, Kripanarayanan, known as “Dr. Krip” throughout the industry, wrote the piece while he worked at the Portland Cement Association (PCA) in 1974. The piece was based on computer curves and other factors that enabled design to be performed using the P-delta effect in lieu of height-to-thickness ratios. Further, he published the curves and created a comprehensive computer program that prompted other engineers to refine their design procedures to include P-delta. The former height-to-thickness ratios limited designers to a panel height around 50-feet. Dr. Krip’s innovative concept allowed for taller and thinner walls.

2004 - Bill Lockwood

Many credit Lockwood with introducing Tilt-Up to the Midwest in the early 1970s. Although Tilt-Up was a popular building system in California, Texas and Florida in the late 1960s, the phenomenon had not yet hit the Midwest. Working in conjunction with Miller-Valentine, a contractor from Dayton, Ohio, Lockwood applied empirical data developed by the Portland Cement Association (PCA) that determined concrete Tilt-Up wall panels could be used for more than just cladding, but also as load-bearing structural elements.

Lockwood’s innovative approach to the Tilt-Up process included the establishment of a cooperative relationship between the client, engineer, architect, and contractor, which was a predecessor to the design-build construction method that has gained dramatic favor in today’s marketplace.

2003 - Sam Hodges

Sam Hodges, is a well-known icon in the Tilt-Up industry and boasts a career in construction spanning nearly a half century. Hodges quickly grew to be a leading promoter of Tilt-Up construction around the globe. His first work with Tilt-Up was in the early 1970s after a trip to California and Texas to learn about the medium from experienced contractors. After these visits, he became an active promoter of Tilt-Up and taught his team about the method.

“Sam Hodges was a pioneer of Tilt-Up in the southeast in the early 1970s,” said Robert P. Foley, president of CON/STEEL Tilt-Up Systems and a founding member of TCA. “He was quick to recognize the competitive advantages of site cast concrete building technology in the commercial building market.”

Realizing the value of education, Hodges was a frequent attendee at Tilt-Up seminars, including one of the first seminars about the method held at the University of Dayton in the early 1990s. It was there that he met Peter Courtois and the two decided to begin conducting their own seminars.

Throughout his career, Hodges held seminars in more than 87 cities, 33 states and six foreign countries. He taught his seminars from a contractor’s point of view, to include information about team training and construction basics.

“In addition to his vision, Sam Hodges legacy to the Tilt-up industry will be his tireless promotion and education of Tilt-Up technology throughout the country,” said Foley.

2002 - William Simpson

Noting a need for change, Simpson served as the chair of an ad-hoc committee of 10 engineers formed in 1978 to study tilt-up buildings and to make recommendation for an acceptable design parameter. The effort resulted in the 1980’s “Test Report on Slender Walls” and essential code revisions. He also spearheaded the use of many innovations in the field, including structural steel ledgers allowing for thermal expansion and contraction of individual panels and pre cut flat sheets of welded wire fabric for a more cost-effective method of producing tilt-up panels. He also popularized the scheme of roof framing of an umbrella-like profile. The honor acknowledges lifetime achievement in the field of tilt-up concrete design, which Simpson undoubtedly has demonstrated.

2001 - Murray Parker

Well-known and respected as a leader in the Canadian and American construction industries, Murray was awarded this honor posthumously. On the cutting-edge of the construction industry, Murray introduced the tilt-up construction method to the Atlantic areas of Canada in 1980 and was later the recipient of a TCA Achievement Award for the Patton Apartment Building in Truro, Nova Scotia.

Murray was past president and director of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association and a committee member of American Concrete and Canadian Design-Build Institutes. He also was a member of the National Building Code Review Committee, as well as APENS, DCI, Nova Scotia Construction Association and the American Concrete Association.

2000 - Bob Truitt

Bob has been instrumental in detailing lifting and bracing designs, taking orders for and selling tilt-up accessories, and managing the department that designed erection details for several million tilt-up panels. He designed and tested numerous tilt-up inserts, lifting hardware units and pipe brace systems and holds several patents pertaining to tilt-up construction. For many years, Bob was heavily involved in field trials of new tilt-up products. Erectors have always been impressed with Bob’s knowledge and have total confidence in his advice and opinions on problem solving.

Bob has spoken on the subject of tilt-up at numerous World of Concrete, TCA and other related seminars throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Australia. Bob served for 12 years as the Secretary of the American Concrete Institute's 551 tilt-up committee and many years as TCA's secretary as well as serving on many safety committees in both the United States and Canada.

1999 - Jesse Wyatt

A long-time tilt-up advocate, Jesse Wyatt was a consulting engineer for over 40 years involved primarily with concrete structures. In addition to an engineering practice, Jesse conducted seminars and lectures for Arizona State University on a wide variety of structural topics. Several publications on tilt-up and other structural topics and articles bear his name. He was a Senior Regional Engineer with the Portland Cement Association and was involved in a number of major modifications to the American Standards and finalized the method for a simple design procedure for secondary effects on thin wall panels.

1998 - Don Musser

Don was the leader in putting together a group of tilt-up contractors and engineers interested in forming the TCA in 1985 and 1986. Don was selected as the first executive director of the TCA and held that position until his retirement in 1992. Don was also chair of ACI Committee 551, Tilt-Up Concrete Construction.

During his tenure as chairman, the committee completed the report “Tilt-Up Concrete Structures”. This report was published by ACI in 1992 and is still referenced today. Further assistance in retirement was given by Don, serving as consultant to ACI Committee C-650 to develop the tilt-up field supervisor certification program.

1997 - F. Thomas Collins

A great debt of gratitude is owed to Mr. Collins. When tilt-up was just getting started, a California contractor attempted to patent the process. Mr. Collins was a leader in the effort to defeat this effort. Without his dedication and effort, the tilt-up industry would be quite different today.

Recognizing the need for information about this new construction method, he wrote and illustrated his classic Building with Tilt-Up. It was highly successful, going through many editions and subsequent titles of Manual of Tilt-Up Construction and Design of Tilt-Up Buildings. It went out of print in the late 60’s, having sold over 40,000 copies.

1996 - Hugh Brooks

Brooks is a civil and structural engineer and was a principal in the structural engineering firm of PBA Consultants, Newport Beach California (successor to Hugh Brooks Associates, which he founded in 1957). He is a member of numerous professional associations, and is the author of three construction books: Encyclopedia of Building and Construction Terms, Building & Construction Resource Directory, and The Tilt-Up Design & Construction Manual.

Brooks designed his first tilt-up structure in 1951, followed by over 400 more in the next 40 years. He has lectured and conducted seminars on tilt-up construction and engineering for TCA and other engineering organizations. Hugh has done much to help develop standards and promote the industry.

About the TCA

Founded in 1986, the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) strives to improve the quality and acceptance of site-cast Tilt-Up construction, a method in which concrete wall panels are cast on-site and tilted into place. Tilt-Up construction is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, combining the advantages of reasonable cost with low maintenance, durability, speed of construction and minimal capital investment. At least 10,000 buildings, enclosing more than 650 million square feet, are constructed each year using this construction method.

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