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Tilt-Up Awards > Robert Aiken Memorial Award

The Robert Aiken Memorial Award recognizes the spirit of innovation contributed by an individual or company. The visionary commitment by this person(s) helps move the industry forward, resolve conflicts and challenges, and open new doors for the tilt-up industry.

The award honors the achievements of Robert Aiken, one of the founding fathers of site-cast tilt-up construction. Known for his inventive spirit that initiated a more architectural direction for tilt-up, Aiken is credited with the concept of casting panels face-up on tilting platforms. This provided a medium for developing a high level of craftsmanship and ornamentation with a durable material previously known primarily for structure rather than aesthetics. It is through the tilt-up construction method that whole structures began to first take shape as precast.

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Is there a person or company that you know embodies the spirit of this award? Click on the nomination link below and submit them for consideration. Entries must be received by June 1st.

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Recipients by Year


Embodying the transformative ethos of the Robert Aiken Memorial Award, PaintJet is a standout entity in the realm of commercial painting. The company uniquely blends advanced robotics and data analytics to achieve a level of precision and efficiency that sets new industry standards. Their technological approach optimizes the quality and speed of large-scale projects, elevating the benchmarks for what is achievable.

But PaintJet’s commitment to excellence extends beyond operational efficiencies. The company also focuses on enhancing the durability and aesthetic appeal of structures. Specialty coatings are meticulously applied to withstand environmental challenges, such as erosion and corrosion, adding both longevity and architectural integrity to each project.

As a trailblazer in the tilt-up construction industry, PaintJet not only addresses current challenges but also pioneers future possibilities. Their ongoing contributions serve as a benchmark for visionary leadership and innovation, making them a deserving honoree of this prestigious award.


Matthew McFarland

The 2021 recipient of the Robert Aiken Memorial Award is Matt McFarland. Traditionally reserved for manufacturers and researchers, TCA’s innovation prize is being awarded for the first time in history to a photographer. It is through his work that the TCA has so effectively been able to share tilt-up innovation with the world. Matt has captured the vast majority of images featured in the last two editions of TCA’s flagship publication, “The Construction of Tilt-Up,” and his work has been presented extensively on TCA event signage and materials, throughout countless issues of Tilt-Up Today, on social media, and in partner publications. His images illustrate the tilt-up method in striking detail, highlighting the monumentality of the panels, the strength of the professionals, and the innovation of the technology. Please direct your attention to the screen for a sampling of his most recent work.

GluDown, Inc.

GluDown, Inc. is a national manufacturer and innovator of construction adhesives that are efficient, effective and easy to use.

GluDown is a construction adhesives company, founded with the purpose of providing industrial adhesive solutions and expertise to its customers. GluDown provides solutions for tilt up construction, and general construction to provide waterproofing and prevent frost damage in construction.

Today, the company continues that mission by working directly with customers to develop industrial adhesive solutions which not only meet their specific needs, but also help improve efficiencies and reduce overall product cost.


Luke Pinkerton

Luke Pinkerton is the founder and CTO of Helix Steel. He has 15 years of experience building the company. In addition to being an engineer, Mr. Pinkerton is an experienced executive that has managed operations, engineering and R&D for the Helix Steel as well as providing weekly oversight for sales staff between 2012 and 2016 and in 2018. He has a BS in Engineering Physics from Hope College and an MS in Structural Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1999. He earned an MBA degree from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2004.

While earning his MS in Structural Engineering, Mr. Pinkerton worked extensively in the area of fiber reinforced concrete including the early development of Helix and was responsible for the design and fabrication of the first equipment to manufacture twisted fibers at high volume.

Prior to Helix Steel, Mr. Pinkerton was at General Dynamics as a structural engineer involved with the research and development team assembled to design the US Navy’s next generation destroyer class ship – with particular interest in the area of shock loading analysis, blast resistant structure design and test management. Mr. Pinkerton is an active member of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) including membership on ACI 544 Committee for Fiber Reinforced Concrete, ACI Committee 332 for Residential Concrete Work and ASTM Subcommittee C09.42 Fiber-Reinforced Concrete. He is a published author in industry related trade magazines and technical journals.



The tilt-up concrete industry, inspired by the legacy Robert Aiken, enjoys an unrivaled reputation for embracing change. The technological and aesthetic advances among the architectural, engineering and construction professionals of this industry are largely responsible for the remarkable growth realized in tilt-up’s short history.

Robert Aiken was the tilt-up concept’s original pioneer. And all of the previous winners of this TCA award named in his memory have been pioneers in their own right. Connect-EZ® is honored and humbled to be invited to join this distinguished band of innovators.

In the steel and concrete construction industries there are costly inefficiencies and uncertainties in many industry-standard connection methods. Connect-EZ® co-founders Terry Tincher and Bob Foley, PE, have combined their 70 years of experience in structural engineering and steel fabrication/erection to introduce innovative, engineered connection devices that promote safety and save time and money. They are grateful for the many ideas generously suggested by industry colleagues that inspire new products. They are dedicated to continuing to listen to the needs of the industry and to contributing to the growth of tilt-up and its pioneering legacy.


Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner is a managing engineer in Hinman’s Alexandria, VA office and has more than 14 years demonstrated experience in blast analysis, structural design, progressive collapse analysis and physical security design. Gardner has provided blast consulting services/analysis on numerous building structures including both new and existing buildings. His portfolio includes the design and coordination of blast effects mitigation solutions for DoD, General Services Administration and Veterans Affairs facilities in the United States and U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide. His experience includes development of perimeter defense designs and blast mitigation solutions, which include site surveys, assessment reports, development of construction contract documents and construction administration. System design experience includes perimeter walls/fences, forced entry construction, blast mitigation retrofit solutions, and blast effects design for new construction and passive/active vehicle denial systems.

Gardner holds a Bachelor of Architectural Engineering (Structures) from Pennsylvania State University and is a registered professional engineer in Virginia. Different from many of our recipients, Gardner does not come from the tilt-up industry. Rather, he resides in an industry that is committed to protecting our buildings and their inhabitants from the threats posed by terrorism, blast loading and other extreme loading events. His commitment in protecting buildings has led him to collaboration with TCA members Powers Brown Architecture, Cardno Haynes Whaley and David E. Harvey Builders on research studying the capability of tilt-up construction to meet federal blast requirements. This collaborative effort has proven that load-bearing tilt-up is a cost-effective method for addressing anti-terrorism requirements.

Mark was part of the team that designed and constructed the first four-story tilt-up office building designed to the medium level of blast protection per DoD requirements. He has shared his expertise during multiple TCA conventions and has authored several articles on the subject for TCA and other industry publications. “Mark has become a true ambassador for tilt-up construction as a preferred method of construction,” said Mitch Bloomquist of the TCA.



Thermomass manufactures a full line of concrete insulation systems for use in plant precast, tilt-up, and cast-in-place projects, with more than 30 years of industry experience. They are being recognized for their continued refinement of their insulated composite product, and for offering building owners a superior building envelope product.

“Given what we know about inferior building envelopes, their composite system has opened a new era of tilt-up panel production extending the competitive edge with precast and establishing new efficiencies in structural material,” said Dave Tomasula, President of CON/STEEL Tilt-Up Systems.


Joseph J. Steinbicker

In any system, there is always room for improving the quality and efficiency. Today, more than ever, technology is a key component of this process. Tilt-Up Design Systems, LLC develops integrated project design and construction technology solutions which do just that for the tilt-up concrete industry. Tilt-Werks, its online software application, provides a work flow for tilt-up that integrates 3-D building modeling, design of tilt-up concrete wall panels and automatic generation of drawings and material quantity take-offs. The knowledge base behind the technology comes from the team's extensive experience in the industry. Tilt-Werks has been utilized in the design of more than 400 buildings just as a proprietary application. Bringing this technology to market enables the industry as a whole to utilize a system that has been created through more than 10 years of user experience and more than 30,000,000 square feet of building construction. The system boasts a sophisticated user interface to link all of the parties involved in tilt-up construction, allowing for faster communication about project details and transfer of material lists to potential suppliers, thus expediting the project construction. Tilt-Up Design Systems is working with other leading design software companies to provide a total building solution for tilt-up design and construction.

"We are especially honored to receive this award and to be recognized by its members for our innovative solution for the tilt-up industry, Tilt-Werks," said Joe Steinbicker, founder and president of Tilt-Up Design Systems. "Tilt-Up Design Systems will continue to play a part in expanding the use of tilt-up with our collaborative technology for streamlining the process of design and construction."


Somero Enterprises Inc.

As the Tilt-Up industry looked to conquer a more architectural appearance, the quality of finishes needed to improve both for the slabs and panel surfaces. With the advent of the Laser Screed®, Somero Enterprises, Inc. provided Tilt-Up contractors with a tool to achieve a high architectural finish. Invented to improve the quality of floor slabs, few could have anticipated the significance to which this piece of equipment would liberate the contractor to once again become a craftsman.

"Somero strives to be an innovative force in concrete equipment and we are proud to have been honored with the prestigious Robert Aiken Innovation Award," said Jack Cooney, President of Somero Enterprises, Inc. "TCA members represent the best of the best in the industry and we hope Somero can continue to contribute to the growth and quality practices of its members."


Tex-Cote LLC

This award was presented to Textured Coatings of America, Inc. in recognition of their innovative product, COOLWALL®. The TEX•COTE® COOLWALL® Coating Systems represent a revolutionary concept in exterior wall coatings. It is the second time Textured Coatings of America, Inc. has received this recognition, evidencing their continued pursuit of excellence for this industry. Specially formulated to reflect the sun’s heat, they can lower exterior wall surface temperatures by as much as 40 degrees when compared to traditional paints in many colors.

Lower exterior temperatures mean lower interior temperatures. This paint system is a significant contributor to the energy performance of buildings and has the potential to greatly impact the sustainable characteristics of Tilt-Up construction.

“Textured Coatings of America, Inc. is very honored to be recognized by the Tilt-Up Concrete Association and its members for the TEX•COTE® COOLWALL® System,” said Richard Barnes, Executive Vice President, Commercial Sales at Textured Coatings of America, Inc. “As the Tilt-Up Concrete industry expands, TEX•COTE® COOLWALL® will contribute to the energy efficiency and green building challenges in the construction market.”


Victory Bear Products


Dayton Superior Corporation


Tex-Cote LLC


Buck Scott