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2009 TCA Professional Achievement Awards

By: Wendy Ward, Constructive Communication, Inc.

TCA announced the recipients of four professional achievement awards presented at TCA’s annual meeting held on Thursday, Feb. 5 in conjunction with the World of Concrete.

The award recipients for 2009, selected by the Association’s Board of Directors after nomination by the general membership and recommendation by the TCA’s Awards Committee, are:

  • Gerry Miller, founding partner at Miller Valentine Group, for the Peter Courtois Memorial Award
  • Tilt-Con Corporation for the Robert Aiken Innovation Award
  • Seretta Construction for the Murray Parker Memorial Award
  • Kenneth R. Carlson, Architect – P.A. for the Irving Gill Distinguished Architect Award


This award honors Peter Courtois, who died in 1992 after serving as senior vice president of engineering for Dayton Superior Concrete Accessories (formerly Dayton-Richmond Corporation). Courtois, an employee of Dayton Superior for 32 years, immeasurably contributed to the Tilt-Up industry through his tireless effort and dedication to several industry associations. He served on seven ACI committees, most notably the ACI-551 Tilt-Up Construction Committee. In addition, he was a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and served as the initial president of TCA, for which he was made an honorary member in 1991. Past recipients include: Robert Tobin, Dave Kelly, Dr. Koladi Kripanarayanan, Bill Lockwood, Sam Hodges, Bill Simpson, Murray Parker, Bob Truitt, Jesse Wyatt, Don Musser, Tom Collins, Hugh Brooks and Malcolm Davis.

Along with Bill Lockwood (a past recipient of the Peter Courtois award), 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.

“Gerry Miller has always delivered value to his clients,” said Bob Foley, president of The Foley Group and former president of CON/STEEL Tilt-Up Systems. “He believes in the lasting value of a concrete building and the speed and efficiency of Tilt-Up construction”.


This award honors Robert Aiken – a founding father of Tilt-Up construction. Known for initiating a more architectural direction for Tilt-Up, Aiken is credited with the concept of casting panels face-up to provide a medium for developing craftsmanship in the construction method. Past recipients include: Accubrace Shoring, Tex-Cote, Elmer Payne (Dayton Richmond), Composite Technologies (Thermomass), Scott System and Victory Bear.

This award was presented to Tilt-Con in recognition of their pioneering efforts to develop the next generation of site-cast Tilt-Up parking garages. Although parking garages have been constructed using Tilt-Up panels around the perimeter for several years, most have employed prestressed, cast-in-place or steel deck structures and interior supports. Tilt-Con’s approach results in a total precast (site-cast) approach to parking garage construction that achieves exceptional quality and performance without a single piece of plant-manufactured or vertical cast concrete. This is a new frontier that continues the evolution of the Tilt-Up contractor as the premier craftsman and the design engineer as the innovative spirit.

“We are deeply honored to be the first contractor to receive this award,” says Tilt-Con’s President Mark W. Theisen, Sr. “It shows how far we have pushed our learning curve and how innovative we have become. The opportunity to develop this new product with Steinbicker and Associates (structural engineer) has been tremendous.”


Named in honor of Murray Parker who died in 2000, this award was created to recognize a contractor who has significantly contributed to the Tilt-Up industry. Parker was regarded for his development and promotion of Tilt-Up throughout the industry, especially in the Atlantic Provinces region of Canada. As General Manager/Vice President of B.D. Stevens, Ltd. in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Parker is credited with introducing Tilt-Up to an area of the world where many thought it was impossible to use the medium. His contributions and commitment to excellence helped the method gain credibility in the area and paved the way for future Tilt-Up projects. Past recipients include Tilt-Up Systems (S. Africa), Balch Enterprises, L.D. Clark, Citadel Contractors, and Hughes General Contractors.

A repeat nominee for this award, the TCA Awards Committee selected Seretta Construction to receive this award for their drive to push the Tilt-Up medium forward and explore the use of the construction method for a diverse range of projects. Seretta is committed to educating their supervisors and project managers on the latest trends in the concrete industry to ensure they stay ahead of the curve. The firm has been an active promoter of Tilt-Up concrete and has encouraged the growth of the method in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States as well as the Caribbean – all while maintaining a superior reputation for quality.

“Our firm is honored to win this award,” said Andrew S. McPherson, president of Seretta Construction. “In the mid- to late-1980s in the Southeastern U.S., Tilt-Up was a hard sell since there was not a lot of familiarity with the method. But coming from Texas (my father Richard J. McPherson, PE, the founder of Seretta, did his first Tilt-Up project in 1963), we were very familiar with the system and knew the advantages Tilt-Up had compared to other methods of construction. It was just a matter of continually pushing the method and making sure any project that we did switch to Tilt-Up was successful so as not to tarnish the method for future projects.”


The TCA’s Distinguished Architect Award is named in honor of Irving J. Gill. Early in the history of concrete construction, Gill—a prominent architect in Southern California—designed and constructed a house in Hollywood employing Aiken’s method for Tilt-Up in 1912. This led Gill to purchase the patent rights of the bankrupt Aiken Reinforced Concrete Company forming his own Concrete Building and Investment Company. Without the architectural mindset of Gill, the industry may very well have taken a much slower time to rise to its current dominance. His crowning Tilt-Up achievement remains as one of the great early examples of modern concrete, the La Jolla Women’s Club. Past recipients include RMW architecture, Intergroup Architects, Kovert Hawkins Architects, The Haskell Company and Powers Brown Architecture.

According to the TCA Awards Committee, Kenneth R. Carlson, Architect – P.A. received this award for their exploratory and creative architectural solutions for a myriad of projects in the last 20 years. Inspired by the proprietor Ken Carlson, Kenneth R. Carlson, Architect – P.A. has pushed the market in Florida higher and farther. They have demonstrated an expertise in multi-story Tilt-Up while maintaining a creative interest in the application to smaller and less restrictive programs.

“I feel honored to receive this award,” said Kenneth R. Carlson, president of the firm. “Over the past 23 years, I have had a wonderful opportunity to explore the use of concrete as a moldable and flexible medium in creating Tilt-Up concrete structures. Tilt-Up construction has given me the opportunity to become creative in small, subtle ways as well as bold and exciting ways. I have found that Tilt-Up design has allowed my office’s architects the ability to accommodate their creative needs as well as meeting their practical structural and environmental requirements.”

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TILT-UP TODAY, a publication of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, is THE source for Tilt-Up industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the Tilt-Up industry. A subscription to TILT-UP TODAY is included in a TCA membership. Subscriptions for potential TCA members are also available. If you would like to receive a complimentary subscription to the publication, please contact the TCA.