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TCA Announces Winners of Tilt-Up Professional Awards



The Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Tilt-Up Professional Awards. The award titles and winners are as follows:

  • Murray Parker Memorial Award – Clay Fischer
  • David L. Kelly Distinguished Engineer Award – Timothy W. Mays, Ph.D., P.E.
  • Robert Aiken Memorial Award – Mark P. Gardner, P.E.
  • Irving Gill Distinguished Architect Award – Jeffrey Brown, AIA
  • Peter Courtois Memorial Award – Richard J. McPherson, P.E.

Winners were celebrated during the Tilt-Up Awards Gala on Sept. 29 in San Jose, Calif. during the TCA International Convention. “The experience, passion, expertise and ambition of these individuals is inspiring,” said Mitch Bloomquist, managing director for the TCA. “We are very fortunate to have such pioneers in our industry.”

Murray Parker Memorial Award

Named for Murray Parker, who died in 2000, the Murray Parker Memorial Award was created to recognize a contractor who has significantly contributed to the growth of the tilt-up industry in new markets and in new regions. 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 creditability in the area and paved the way for future tilt-up projects. Past recipients include Roger Meyer (2013), Shawn Hickey (2012), Frank Adames (2011), Steve Miers (2010) and others whose innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and leadership served to introduce tilt-up to new markets or applications and whose efforts raised the bar for the entire industry.

Fischer2Clay Fischer

Clay Fischer and his wife Jeanne formed Woodland Construction in 1987, with brother Gary joining them soon after. As Clay likes to put it, “we started from the back of a pickup truck.” They tilted their first building in 1988. Under Fischer’s guidance, Woodland Construction has become one of the premier tilt-up subcontractors in the country. Fischer and his teams are always looking for a challenge. In fact, they thrive on non-traditional projects. Although they still do a few big boxes, their pioneering spirit has always put them in the forefront with project examples including tight sites, nine-story tall panels, curved panels, new finishes, post-tensioning, leaning panels and other out of the ordinary features. One of Fischer’s classic lines is, “Hey, it’s crazy enough, it just might work.”

Woodland Construction has received more than 40 Tilt-Up Achievement awards from the TCA. Fischer has also served the TCA and the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) on their boards of directors and as their president. Woodland was the first company to receive the TCA Certified Tilt-Up Company designation, and it insists that all of its supervisory staff are ACI/TCA certified.

“It is the pioneering spirit of Clay, Woodland Construction and others like him that have fueled the growth of tilt-up and its expansion to virtually every building type constructed,” said Mark Johnson, Johnson Structural Group, Inc. “If you think it, Clay and his team can probably figure out a way to build it.”

David L. Kelly Distinguished Engineer Award

The David L. Kelly Distinguished Engineer Award honors the career-long commitment by Dave Kelly, former Chief Engineer of Meadow Burke, to the constant evolution of engineering solutions for the tilt-up industry. A past president, board member, ACI 551 committee member and inspirational mind of the tilt-up industry, Kelly solved many of the most intricate designs and construction requirements asked of the tilt-up methods to enable contractors to erect massive panels of both height and weight. Past recipients of the include Joe Steinbicker (2013), Jeffrey Needham (2012), Philip Kopf (2011), Johnson Structural Group, Inc. and others whose commitment to engineering excellence has allowed for industry advancement.

MaysTimothy W. Mays, Ph.D., P.E.

Timothy W. Mays, Ph.D., P.E. is an associate professor of Civil Engineering at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. Mays graduated with a 4.0 GPA for all three of his college degrees, which include a B.S.C.E. degree from the University of Memphis in 1996, a M.S.C.E. degree from Virginia Tech in 1997, and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Virginia Tech in 2000. He was asked to speak at two separate graduation ceremonies and in 2000, his comments were read into the Congressional Record by Senator John Warner of Virginia.

While pursuing his graduate studies, he was one of 10 civil engineering students nationwide selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as NSF Graduate Research Fellows. With more than 13 years of experience as a consulting structural engineer, he remains active in the design arena designing buildings, bridges and marine structures. His has won two design awards for his work with buildings.

Mays recently served as executive director of the Structural Engineers Associations of South Carolina and North Carolina. He currently serves as National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA) Publications Committee Chairman. He has received three national teaching awards, from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). He has also received both national (NSF) and regional (American Society for Engineering Education) awards for outstanding research. He is a past recipient of the NCSEA Service Award and Virginia Tech’s Young Alumni Award. He is a prolific speaker who sits on several code-writing committees and his areas of expertise are code applications, structural design, seismic design, steel connections, structural dynamics and civil engineering aspects of anti-terrorism.

In 2013, Mays collaborated with TCA member Joseph J. Steinbicker, P.E., S.E. on the newest publication from the TCA, which is the third in a trilogy of resources covering the architecture, engineering and construction of tilt-up. Engineering Tilt-Up contains basic engineering principles and code interpretation as well as in-depth analysis of a tilt-up structure and its components. The thorough guide breaks down tilt-up design to educate beginners as well as experienced engineers. Engineering Tilt-Up contains 325 pages of completely new content.

In addition to the chapter material, Engineering Tilt-Up features three full-building design examples presenting simplified standard practice approaches to design on realistic yet complex situations and constraints that are considered on actual projects. Adhering to the latest codes and standards, the book serves as a one-of-a-kind resource for tilt-up engineers looking for an excellent summary of standard practice in tilt-up and alternative ways to seek code compliance. Since its publication, Mays has traveled the United States presenting the content and promoting the book. Mays is a new member of the TCA’s education committee and is currently developing a block of engineering curriculum for the TCA to distribute to colleges and universities. The TCA, along with Mays, will offer Engineering Tilt-Up as a webinar series later this year.

Robert Aiken Memorial Award

The Robert Aiken Memorial Award for innovation 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. Past recipients include Thermomass (2013), Tiltwerks (2012), Somero Enterprises, Inc. (2011), Textured Coatings of America (2010) and other organizations and individuals whose innovation has opened new doors for the industry.

GardnerMark P. Gardner, P.E.

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 Bloomquist.

Irving Gill Distinguished Architect Award

The TCA’s Distinguished Architect Award honors Irving J. Gill. In 1912, 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. 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, a structure that continues to inspire architects today employing the method. Past recipients of the Irving Gill Distinguished Architect Award include Alliance Architects, Inc. (2013), Glen Stephens (2011), James Williams (2010) Kenneth Carlson (2009), and others whose pursuance of design excellence and application of the tilt-up method to new building types and new markets has propelled the industry to new heights.

BrownJeffrey Brown, AIA

Jeffrey Brown, AIA, is principal-in-charge of design for Powers Brown Architecture, which he co-founded. Practicing architecture for more than 20 years, Brown has an array of experience working on multiple building types for both public and private entities. He is an accomplished designer with unique graphic communication and strategic planning skills. His ability to design utilizing an interactive process of project definition and interpretation has resulted in distinguished design awards and published works.

Brown has been instrumental in leading the firm to numerous awards including recognition from the TCA as the 2008 recipient of this award for the firm’s contribution to the design and advancement of tilt-wall construction. Additional accolades have come from the Texas Society of Architects, American Institute of Architects Houston, AIA DC|Washington, Design Excellence Awards and the Urban Land Institute. The firm’s work has been widely covered in magazines and books, including a book published by Images Publishing, Powers Brown Architecture: NeoArchitecture, which he helped write. The firm was also included in an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston for the collaboration with artist Reginald Adams on the Fannin South Light Rail Station.

In addition, Brown has a passion for shaping the architects of tomorrow. He has taught as an assistant at his alma mater, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and as an adjunct professor at both the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Prairie View A&M University. He has been a guest critic at the above-mentioned institutions, Rice University, Roger Williams University and the University of Texas at Arlington.

“Brown has a true passion and commitment for elevating the art form of tilt-up design and construction beyond a utilitarian gray box. He continues to push the limits of tilt-up construction with his recent 5-story and 6-story office projects and his research into the anti-terrorism force protection capabilities of tilt-up,” said David Tomasula, Managing Principal at LJB Inc. “His work is continuously awarded for excellence not only by the TCA, but also by his peers within the architectural community.”

His passion for tilt-up is matched only by his passion for marketing the tilt-up product. Brown has coined the phrases Office 1.0, Office 2.0, Value OfficeTM and Small Smart Boxes as he has promoted the tilt-up product to institutional investors and individual owners. As an example of his passion, he has written the first manuscript that expounds on the architectural possibilities of tilt-up, named Tiltwallism: A Treatise on the Architectural Potential of Tiltwall Construction.

A tireless of supporter of the TCA, Brown has been a member since 2005 and a board member since 2011. He has served as the chair of the membership committee and has been instrumental in driving membership growth, especially amongst his colleagues in Houston, Denver and Washington D.C. He was instrumental in the overwhelming success of the TCA Convention in Houston, Texas in 2013 and generously led the efforts to design and construct the Veterans Memorial in Sugar Land, Texas as part of that event.

Peter Courtois Memorial Award

The Peter Courtois Memorial Award is the TCA’s highest honor and is presented to a recipient whose career-long dedication to the greater good of the tilt-up industry is recognized by his or her peers. The award honors Peter Courtois, who died in 1992 after serving as senior vice president of engineering for Dayton Superior (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 Concrete Construction committee. In addition, he was a fellow of the ASCE and served as the initial president of TCA. Past recipients include Preston Haskell (2013), Jim Churchman (2012), Sherman Balch (2011), Bob Foley (2010) and others whose careers helped shape the tilt-up industry as we know it today.

McPhersonRichard J. McPherson, P.E.

A 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 to the design firm. The general contracting company self-performed its concrete work as well as its own roof work and millwork. This allowed Richard to have complete, in-house control of both A/E design and build.

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.

About the TCA

TCA was founded in 1986 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 U.S., 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. For more information, visit or contact TCA at 319-895-6911. 

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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.