Richard M. Bennett, P.E., PhD, professor and director at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and David Biggs, principal of Biggs Consulting Engineering in Saratoga Springs, NY, were presented with NCMA’s Champions Award at the association’s Midyear Meeting in Seattle, WA in August.

The NCMA Industry Champion Award recognizes individuals who make significant contributions in roles beyond what can be accomplished by the association alone and honors these meritorious contributions that support the advancement of the use of concrete products.

An award recipient already many times over – including the The Masonry Society’s (TMS) President’s Award in 2016 — Bennett was nominated by ten different individuals who had affiliations with not just NCMA, but other associations, organizations, companies and groups within the industry that collectively demonstrated the highest admiration for both the career and work he’s put forward. In doing so, as peers they have also recognized his legacy for the vision, leadership and passion that have contributed to advancing concrete masonry design and construction.

While a professor at UT, Bennett has chaired multiple TMS subcommittees throughout the years and served as chair during some of the most important cycles. He is recognized by many as the most prolific developer and reviewer of code change proposals, integrating some of the latest and greatest practices into TMS 402/602. He is also an active member of ASTM Committees C12 and C15; bringing these practical and material-based procedures back to his classroom.

The first individual not employed by a member company to be appointed to the NCMA Education and Research Foundation Board of Trustees, Biggs was recognized for his vision, leadership and passion for advancing concrete masonry design and construction.

Since selling his interests in Ryan-Biggs after 33 years in 2010, he has worked helping developing building codes and preserving historic structures in places like Egypt, the Czech Republic, Iraq, Turkey, Italy and New Zealand.

An adjunct professor and educator over the course of his accomplished career, Biggs helped develop the Hybrid Masonry Structural Building Concept, a precursor to a project funded by the National Science Foundation to research seismic response of such structures.

Following September 11, 2001, Biggs was a member of the Building Assessment Team assigned to investigate the World Trade Center disaster for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) where he helped assess and investigate the performance of the structures in and around Ground Zero.

A “mason’s engineer” he’s been instrumental in several turning points for the industry including serving as program coordinator (as well as primary advocate) for the Building Information Modeling for Masonry Initiative. This initiative has developed many new tools for integrating masonry into BIM platforms.