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One World Trade Center Photo Contest
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 29, 2013 at 5:36 PM.

From before the first placement of steel beams to the installment of the 408-ft steel spire, photos have catalogued One World Trade Center’s evolution into an engineering marvel and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Now you have the opportunity to submit your best photo of the tower for a chance to win a tour of the top of the iconic 1,776-ft-tall steel-framed building.


The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is holding a One World Trade Center photo contest for amateur photographers via social media starting today through August 25, and the best photo of 1 WTC will be selected the winner. 


To enter and for the complete contest details, visit the “WTC Progress” page on Facebook at

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Reminder: Free AISC Safety Webinar This Thursday
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 23, 2013 at 4:34 PM.

AISC kicks off its new safety webinar series this Thursday, July 25, with a free presentation on arc flash safety. Steel fabricators and erectors will learn about arc flash and other electrical safety hazards, the requirements in NFPA 70E and suggested safe working practices around electrical hazards. To register for the webinar, go to


“Whether in the fabrication shop or the field, energized equipment is a hazard that can result in severe injuries if workers are exposed to accidental electric arcs as equipment is being serviced,” said Tom Schlafly, AISC director of safety. “It’s important for structural steel fabricators and erectors to understand these hazards and know how to apply current safety practices in this area.”


The 75-minute webinar will begin at the following times, relative to time zone:


9:30 a.m. PDT
10:30 a.m. MDT
11:30 a.m. CDT
12:30 p.m. EDT


There is no fee to attend the webinar, but registration is required. Registrants will also receive access to a PDF file of the presentation slides prior to the webinar.


To learn more about AISC’s live webinars, visit For more information on safety in the fabricated and erected structural steel industry, visit

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Video: Building an Award-Winning Steel Structure
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 22, 2013 at 3:44 PM.

lee-hall-video.jpgA new educational video by the Department of Construction Science and Management at Clemson University shows the story behind the creation of a steel structure, from idea to reality. 


The 30-minute video focuses on the structural design of Lee Hall III, a 55,000-sq.-ft LEED-certified educational building on the campus of Clemson University in Clemson, S.C. The project is also a Merit Award winner in this year’s AISC IDEAS2 Awards program (you can read the article in our May 2013 issue for photos and a detailed description of the award-winning project).


The story begins with the building design and continues through the project engineering, building information modeling and shop drawing development. It then transitions to the life cycle of steel from the recycling of scrap to the production, fabrication and erection of the steel at the building site.


The video is available as a free download in MP4 format at as part of AISC’s Teaching Aids, which assist universities in preparing students to become professionals knowledgeable in the use of structural steel. Click on any of the three links on the page (under “Disciplines”) to access the video.

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Steel Shots: Chicago Bridge Celebrates Centennial
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 19, 2013 at 4:38 PM.


Opened 100 years ago on May 26, 1913, Chicago’s Washington Blvd. Bridge spans the South Branch of the Chicago River and stands as a monument to the metamorphosis of Chicago style bascule bridges from first to second generation, which were crucial in the city’s growth and development. Today the historic steel bridge is raised about 40 times a year, mostly during the spring and fall sailboat runs to and from Lake Michigan. Photo: Courtesy of  


This past May marked 100 years of service for downtown Chicago’s oldest movable bridge — the Washington Blvd. Bridge.


This historic steel bridge has been present for most of the history of the river crossing at Washington Blvd. During Chicago’s first 70 years as a city, engineers experimented with many ways to satisfy the conflicting needs of land traffic and navigation interests at the Chicago River. One of these experiments was a tunnel built at Washington Blvd. in 1869 and was the first in the city built specifically for wagon and pedestrian traffic (a second tunnel was built at LaSalle St. that opened in 1870).


The tunnel provided an escape path during the Great Fire in 1871 that the burning bridges couldn’t. The steep approaches, damp and dirty conditions made the tunnel unpopular with pedestrians. Eventually the tunnel was converted for use in the cable car, and later, the street car systems. In 1910, the tunnel was rebuilt and lowered nine ft as the larger vessels ran aground on the top of it. The Washington Blvd. tunnel was closed in 1953, ending 84 years of service.


The first bridge at this location was a swing bridge that was floated in from Madison St. and installed in 1891. This swing bridge was in use until 1907 when it was demolished for both the lowering of the existing tunnel at the time and the construction of the current bridge.


The current bridge was the first to include the ideals of the 1909 Plan of Chicago. Edward Bennett, co-author of the Plan, began collaborating with Chicago Public Works bridge engineers during the latter design stages of the bridge. That collaboration led to aesthetic considerations such as upgraded materials in the abutment walls, railings, lighting, and, most notably, in the bridgehouses.


Technologically, the bridge involved innovations in two areas. First, due to the tunnel directly below the bridge, new foundation design techniques were developed and implemented and used on bridges that followed. Second, features developed and patented in 1911 by Chicago Public Works engineer Alexander von Babo were incorporated into the design. The most significant of these design innovations was changing the location of the rack and pinion which made a striking difference in the appearance of Chicago’s bridges.


washington-blvd-bridge-1913.jpgToday, it is hard to imagine the number of vessels that used the Chicago River in the first part of the 20th century. During 1914, the first full year of operation of this bridge, a total of 9,540 vessels entered and cleared the river; the bridge opened 3,773 times in that year alone. (Click on the left image to view the new Washington Blvd. bridge in action at the time it opened. Image reproduced from the 1913 Annual Report of the Chicago Public Works Department.)


Now in semi-retirement, the bridge is raised only about 40 times a year, mostly during the spring and fall sailboat runs to and from Lake Michigan. About 14,000 vehicles and 9,500 pedestrians cross this bridge daily. Based on the available data, it is estimated that this bridge has been raised about 70,000 times in its 100 years.


For more information about the Washington Blvd. Bridge, contact Jim Phillips (who provided this commentary) at 312.540.0696, or visit his website, which features additional information, images and videos of the bridge, as well as multimedia pages for all of the Chicago Loop bridges (which are all steel!).


Another notable steel bridge anniversary happened earlier this month: the Arrigoni Bridge, a twin-arch span which stretches across the Connecticut River between Middletown and Portland, Conn., turned 75. A recent article in The Courant highlights a local exhibit on the bridge which runs through the summer marking its anniversary and mentions that upon its completion in 1938, the Middletown-Portland Bridge, as it was first called, was named the “Most Beautiful Steel Bridge” in the nation by AISC.


Photos and a brief history on the Arrigoni Bridge can be found at



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Engineering Journal Q3 Now Online
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 18, 2013 at 3:46 PM.

The third quarter 2013 issue of Engineering Journal is now available online in digital edition format. View the current issue at
Papers in EJ Q3 include:


  • A Simplified Approach for Joist Girder Moment Frame Design Using Equivalent Beam Theory by Phillip A. Knodel, Andrea E. Surovek and Joseph J. Pote
  • Stability Design of Cross-Bracing Systems for Frames by Eric M. Lui and Xiaoran Zhang
  • Notes on the Nodal and Relative Lateral Stability Bracing Requirements of AISC 360 by Louis F. Geschwindner and Andres Lepage
  • A Flexibility-Based Formulation for the Design of Continuity Plates in Steel Special Moment Frames by Andy T. Tran, Patrick M. Hassett and Chia-Ming Uang

Article searches for the complete collection of EJ remain available at Downloads of current and past articles in PDF format are free to AISC members and ePubs subscribers. Non-AISC members may subscribe to Engineering Journal at AISC’s website.
Is there a steel design topic that you would like to see addressed in more detail? EJ is always looking for your ideas. Email them to Keith Grubb, editor, at



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Modjeski and Masters Appoints New CEO
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 17, 2013 at 11:59 AM.

drmartin-headshot.jpgModjeski and Masters has appointed Barney Martin (pictured left), the firm’s president since 2007, to CEO, effective immediately. John Kulicki formerly filled the role of CEO and will continue to guide the firm’s strategic direction in his role as Chairman of the Board.
“Modjeski and Masters has a rich history of designing iconic bridges in the United States, and I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the firm as CEO,” said Martin. “We have a strong leadership team with profound technical expertise and project experience, and I look forward to working closely with this team and Dr. Kulicki throughout the transition.”


In his nearly 36 years with Modjeski and Masters, Martin has served critical roles with marquee clients including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority and the New York State Bridge Authority. Under his management, the firm has opened new offices in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
“Dr. Martin is a natural fit for this position for both his technical expertise and progressive outlook,” said Kulicki (pictured right), the recipient of AISC’s J. Lloyd Kimbrough Award in 2011 for his significant achievements in bridge analysis and design. “The industry is changing, with new project delivery mechanisms determining how teams are selected and ultimately, how bridges are built. This transition serves as a symbol of growth as we continue to evolve and adopt new practices that reflect changes in the industry.”
A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Kulicki has more than 40 years experience in bridge analysis and design. He joined the firm in 1974 and was appointed CEO in 2003, and has worked on numerous flagship bridge projects including the Second Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, Mich., and the Quincy-Bayview Bridge in Quincy, Ill., both long-span steel bridges. In addition to leading the development of the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications, he has authored more than 80 technical papers and presentations, including content for several engineering handbooks.



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Call for Abstracts: 2014 SSRC Annual Stability Conference
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 16, 2013 at 11:59 AM.

Abstracts are now being accepted for the 2014 SSRC Annual Stability Conference, March 25-28, 2014, which will be held in conjunction with AISC’s NASCC: The Steel Conference (March 26-29) in Toronto, Canada. Researchers are encouraged to submit an abstract summarizing ongoing or recently completed research on the stability of metal structures or metal-concrete composite structures.


To submit an abstract, please submit the online form at; click on SSRC’s flyer containing more detailed submission information. Abstracts are due by 5 p.m. (CDT) on September 3, 2013. This due date is firm and no late submissions will be accepted due to the tight schedule required for the final program.


The program committee will make the final program selections based on the applicability of the subject as well as evaluation of the abstract, available space in the program and assurance that the author will attend the conference to present his/her paper. Notification of acceptance will be made no later than September 13, 2013. Full papers must be submitted by January 10, 2014.


For more information or questions about submitting abstracts, contact Janet Cummins at or 312.670.7015.

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Steel Shots: Libya’s First Steel Teaching Sculpture
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 15, 2013 at 8:50 AM.


Libya’s first steel teaching sculpture was recently built at the University of Tripoli’s engineering building courtyard. Professors Mustafa Taghdi and Ezzedine Jaluta and a crew of their civil engineering students assembled the Sculpture in April. They were very enthusiastic about this new sculpture and ended up working until midnight to finish assembling it (click on the sketch to view a photo of the completed sculpture). Photo and description: Mustafa Taghdi

Mustafa Taghdi, a graduate of the University of Ottawa in Canada, always had his sights set on bringing an AISC Steel Sculpture to Libya and using it to teach his students about different steel structural shapes and connections.
He contacted AISC for their help, and although they weren’t able to provide him with the structure (given the distance between the two countries) they did provide several detailed drawings of their steel teaching sculpture and recommended that he contact a local steel fabricator, as well as sponsors and donors for the project. Senior engineer Ali Salem Bani in Tripoli was intrigued by the idea and agreed to support the project.


This project is one of the first of its kind in North Africa and the Middle East. Since the North  American shapes used in the drawings supplied by the AISC were not available locally, they were replaced by equivalent European shapes that were.


After the welded pieces were fabricated, they were coated with two layers of anti-corrosion materials (galvanized then painted). The choice of color for the structure was influenced by educational considerations. “I chose the gray scale so that students can focus,” said Taghdi. “The colorful option would have distracted them.”


trip-univ-sw-whole-assembly-exploded.jpgThe goal of this educational project is to expand the horizons of students and provide a teaching tool for professors so that students can physically see the differences in steel structural shapes and connections. Click on the left PDF to view the sculpture exploded into its various parts.


Both staff and students were excited about this new teaching tool. Taghdi commented, “The fruits of this structure will be Libyan engineers who will soon build steel skyscrapers and


bridges that will contribute to the advancement of our country.”


Click on the right PDF to view the sculpture in its whole assembly. 













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AISC Launches New Free Bolting App and Steel Apps Contest
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 11, 2013 at 6:10 PM.

AISC has launched its first mobile app: Build-A-Bolt, which helps those in the steel construction industry select the right structural bolt, washer, nut combination and can be used in the field to determine bolt grade and manufacturer. It’s also useful for detailers and specifiers in providing dimensions and fastener compatibility. The app is free and available for use at With the release of the app, AISC has also launched a new Steel Apps contest at giving the opportunity for you to win cash prizes, totaling $9,000!


Do you have an idea for an app that would be useful to the steel design and construction industry? Here’s your chance to bring it to life! Create an open source app that is relevant and functional for the design, erection, fabrication or inspection of structural steel buildings and/or bridges and you could win a cash prize of: Gold Award - $5,000; Silver Award - $3,000; and Bronze Award - $1,000. The winning apps will also be featured in MSC, as well as AISC’s social media channels, and also announced on SteelDay, which takes place October 4.


Here are the rules to enter:


  • Create an open source app and “tweet” the URL on Twitter using #SteelApps in your post. You must be following @AISC on Twitter and reside, and have a bank account, in the U.S.
  • Submit your app by September 22, 2013, and include your name, email, phone number, app title and app purpose in your source code.
  • All entries must either be in the public domain or available under an OSI-approved open-source license. For an entry to be considered valid, AISC will require access to a functional version of the software and an indication of where the public code repository can be found. AISC reserves the right to modify contest rules and regulations.
  • Entries using web technologies (JavaScript, etc.) are preferred, but “native” software may be used provided it is accessible and operable using major operating systems (Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS). Any fees or developer program licenses that may be associated with placing your app in an “app store” or other distribution channel are solely your responsibility.
  • You may base your entry on existing open source projects but must have been personally responsible for the addition of significant new features (combining functions in a novel fashion counts as a new feature) which are relevant to the structural steel industry.


For questions, you can contact the AISC Steel Solutions Center at or 866.ASK.AISC.

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Mobil Steel Executive Richard Friel Dies
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 9, 2013 at 2:45 PM.

mobil-steel-richard-friel_7-2013.jpgAISC member and certified fabricator Mobil Steel International, Inc.’s senior vice president, Richard Friel, a successful executive in steel production and steel fabrication industries in Illinois and Texas, passed away last Sunday, surrounded by family. Friel, who was 76 years old, had been on medical leave from Mobil Steel for the past several months.


Friel achieved an outstanding track record of facility, project and capital improvement management in the steel industry. He used his steel industry knowledge and contacts to help Mobil Steel build a quality-certified steel fabrication operation with capacity to handle more than 1,000 tons of steel per month at its 80,000 sq.-ft Houston facility. Friel also was noted for team building skills and mentoring of employees in the industry. He had been an active member of AISC and the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).


Friel started his management career with Northwestern Steel and Wire Co. at a structural mill in Sterling, Ill., in 1968. During his 26-year stint with Northwestern, he was promoted to various assignments in which he was responsible for all aspects of steel operations and supervised hundreds of employees. He moved to Houston with Northwestern in 1990 as the company liaison to work with an international construction and engineering firm on a $60-million project to refurbish and restart the Armco mill.


Friel took early retirement in 1994 and joined Mobil Steel Corporation in 1995 as plant manager and shipping and logistics manager. Following management changes, he continued with Mobil Steel International as senior vice president.


“Our hearts are very heavy at Mobil Steel today over this loss of a great friend, mentor and senior executive of our company,” said Leonard A. Bedell, president and CEO of Mobil Steel International. “Richard’s amazing knack for our industry, his many contacts and his passion for steel fabrication improved our company. While we will miss Richard – especially the spark in his eyes and his ever-constant smile – we are very thankful for and strengthened by how he mentored our employees and the impressive legacy he leaves at Mobil Steel and in the steel industry.”


Friel is survived by his wife, Dianne Gunderson Friel, two daughters, a son and five grandchildren.

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