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Nucor Breaks Ground for New Mill
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 17, 2011 at 8:53 AM.

Nucor Corporation has broken ground on a new direct reduced iron (DRI) making facility in St. James Parish, La., between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The company received its air permit from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality in January, enabling it to move forward with construction.


The company initially will build one DRI plant, expected to create 150 permanent jobs, but it has been permitted for the construction and operation of two plants with a combined annual DRI production of 5.5 million tons.


Direct reduction technology converts natural gas and iron ore pellets into high quality direct reduced iron used along with recycled scrap to produce numerous high quality steel products such as sheet, plate and special bar quality steel. The DRI facility is the first phase of a multi-phase plan that may include a coke plant, blast furnace, pellet plant and steel mill.


To read the Nucor press release about the new DRI facility, click here.

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ACSA Acknowledges AISC’s Decade of Support
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 16, 2011 at 8:54 AM.

Since the inception of ACSA’s Steel Design Student Competition 10 years ago, AISC has provided continued sponsorship support of the competition. In recognition of this partnership, ACSA presented AISC with an award at its 99th Annual Meeting held March 3-6 in Montreal.



The Steel Design Student Competition challenges students, working individually or in teams, to explore a variety of design issues and create innovations related to the use of steel in design and construction. Last year, about 450 students from 75 schools of architecture entered the competition, challenged to design “a retreat from real world diseases, promote healing, and foster a reconnection at the individual and collective levels.” You can view the winners on AISC’s web site here. (scroll down on the page)


The 11th annual competition is now under way, with a Homeless Assistance Center as this year’s structured challenge. (There is also an “open” category.) Winners for the 2010-2011 academic year will be announced in July. Read more about the program on ACSA’s web site here.

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In Memory of Harry Fogle: Bridge Pioneer
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 15, 2011 at 8:57 AM.

Harry Fogle, a remarkable bridge pioneer who was one of the last surviving workers on both the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay Bridge, died of natural causes on February 18 at the age of 97.


A bridge painter and foreman for more than 40 years who was a survivor of an era when men worked without nets high above the San Francisco Bay, the National Steel Bridge Alliance featured his lustrous career in its September 2010 newsletter.


For more information about Fogle’s legacy, visit the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle at

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ConXtech and Tekla Leverage IPD, BIM for U.S. Navy Project
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 14, 2011 at 9:02 AM.

AISC member firms ConXtech and Tekla have been featured in a case study of a U.S. Navy structural steel project in South Carolina reported on The project used IPD, BIM, and the ConXtech system to optimize construction and speed and economy.


Read about it at

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Steel Shots: Lawrence Encourages His Team
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 11, 2011 at 10:11 AM.


Ernest Orlando Lawrence (standing, back to camera), was considered the father of “Team Science” and a consummate leader of cross-disciplinary scientific projects. Here he addresses colleagues in a late 1930s photo near the 184-in. cyclotron construction site. Photo: Lawrence Berkeley Nat’l Lab.


The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., is one of 17 U.S. Department of Energy national labs. Today its more than 4,200 employees carry on research in world-class facilities constructed over the last eight decades on the 200-acre campus.


“Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.” (From


Lawrence’s cyclotron started small, but then grew to an 11-in. diameter, then 27-in., and they continued to get larger as scientists tried to reach higher energy levels. The lab’s 184-in. cyclotron was housed in the round building in the photo, shown as the steel framing was being erected. To learn more about the development of the cyclotron, click here. (At the end of that page is a 1941 photo of the completed building.)

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Tuning in to Lou Geschwindner
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 10, 2011 at 10:11 AM.

The most recent installment of AISC’s free podcast series, Steel Profiles, features a 32-minute interview with well-respected educator and lecturer Louis F. Geschwindner, Ph.D., P.E. Geschwindner recently retired after serving for nearly 40 years as a faculty member in the Architectural Engineering Department at the Pennsylvania State University, and he also served the last nine years as AISC’s vice president of engineering and research. Over the years he’s helped continue the education of more than 15,000 practicing professionals. In recognition of his many contributions to the industry and his life-long love of education, AISC has renamed its annual seminar series’ in his honor. Learn more by clicking on February’s news post.


This fourth monthly Steel Profiles podcast gets up close and personal with Geschwindner as he talks not only about his tenure at Penn State and AISC, but also his outrageous tie collection and how he maintains his signature mustache.
If you missed any of the first three Steel Profiles, simply visit where all Steel Profiles podcasts are available for easy listening and downloading. You can also access them on iTunes. Register for a free Steel Profiles subscription and each new monthly episode will automatically be downloaded for you. For detailed instructions read our previous news post about Steel Profiles, which also includes information about Podcast #2 with incoming Specification Committee chair Shankar Nair, Ph.D., S.E. Detailed information about Podcast #3 with welding expert Duane Miller, Sc.D, P.E., can also be found on Steel in the News here.


Stay tuned for April’s podcast featuring an interview with our very own Scott Melnick, AISC vice president and editor of MSC.

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William Baker Elected to NAE Membership
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 9, 2011 at 9:53 AM.

bill-baker_headshot_sitn.jpgWilliam F. Baker, Jr., S.E., P.E., has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional honors for engineers. His election citation is “For leadership in the development of innovative structures for high-rise buildings worldwide.” Engineers are elected by current NAE members, which include distinguished individuals from all engineering disciplines. Baker is the structural engineering partner for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Chicago, and an AISC Professional Member. Among many other professional activities, he serves on the AISC Specifications Committee.

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Cherry Blossom Palace Wins CIDECT Award
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 8, 2011 at 10:07 AM.

Xavier Aguilo I. Aran, from the University of Barcelona, Spain, and Tarana Haque, from the University of Toronto, Canada, were presented with CIDECT Awards at last December’s International Symposium on Tubular Structures in Hong Kong, China. They were honored after five students from around the world, who had won the preliminary competition, presented their work in the field of tubular structures and the audience then voted on the award for the first place in each category.


Aran took first place for the Design Award for his paper: Cherry Blossom Palace (Download Paper: 21-24X_Aguilo_i_ARAN–winner_design.pdf). The Design Award goes to the individual who uses HSS in a new, creative way.


Haque received the first prize for the Research Award for her work: Experimental Behaviour of Elliptical Hollow Section Welded X- and T-Joints (Download Paper: 30-37T_HAQUE-winner_reseach.pdf). The Research Award goes to the individual with extensive knowledge in the field of HSS. The 2008 winner in this category was Juan Carlo de Oliveira, also from the University of Toronto, Canada, whose winning entry has now been commercialized as Cast Connex. For more information go here and look back at our past Steel in the News post about the system.


ISTS is held every two years, and presents the latest research and design methodology for Hollow Structural Steel (HSS) sections. CIDECT presents two awards at each ISTS. For more information on the program, visit AISC’s education website.

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AISC Seeking Nominations for Top Designer Awards
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 7, 2011 at 9:59 AM.

Who are the top designers practicing today? Previous names in this respected group include Lawrence Griffis from Walter P Moore, James Fisher from Computerized Structural Design, Charles Thornton, and Shankar Nair. They’ve all been honored for making significant contributions to the design and construction of fabricated steel buildings and bridges, and now AISC is again seeking nominations for its prestigious J. Lloyd Kimbrough Award, and its annual Lifetime and Special Achievement Awards. You can find details on award criteria and all past winners at


The Kimbrough Award recognizes pre-eminent steel designers of their era. Because of this, only four awards have been given since 1999. AISC’s Lifetime Achievement Awards honor living individuals who have who’ve made a difference in the structural steel industry’s success. And the Special Achievement Awards recognize individuals who’ve demonstrated notable industry achievements. For example, HNTB’s Theodore Zoli received an award in 2010 for his work on the S-shape cable-stayed Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge (recipient of an NSBA 2009 Prize Bridge Award - read more here), while Nabih Youssef received an award for the LA Live Project that utilized an innovative steel-plate shear wall system and performance-based design.


Submit nominations to Charles J. Carter, AISC vice president and chief structural engineer, at, by April 15.


Nominations should include:

    * Award category (J. Lloyd Kimbrough Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, or Special Achievement Award)
    * Name and affiliation of person nominated
    * Reasons for nomination
    * Nominees’ background (years of service, outstanding achievements in the structural steel design community and steel industry, etc)

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Steel Shots: Steel in the High Desert
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 4, 2011 at 10:48 AM.


The frame of an energy-efficient steel home is rising quickly in a remote area of Yucca Valley, Calif. Photo: Marilyn Chung, The Desert Sun


Two years after building his first steel house on 2 1/2 acres of high desert in Yucca Valley, Calif., David McAdam with Blue Sky Homes, Palm Springs, Calif., is building a second sustainable steel-framed home similar to its prototype. Like its predecessor, the new home is a hybrid, using a prefab frame made of factory-cut, light-gauge steel that is bolted together on site, but still allows for lots of customization and a hip, midcentury modern feel, according to an article in The Desert Sun.


Setting the home’s foundation on a 10-acre parcel of rocky terrain posed some design challenges, but its steel pillars allow Blue Sky to build on sloped or uneven terrain with minimal grading. According to the article, the 1,250-sq.-ft house is planned to be assembled and ready for move-in within eight weeks.


Going with steel also gave the home a green solution. “The new house is 70% recycled, and the whole structure will be 15% to 20% more energy efficient than California’s rigorous green building standards,” said McAdam and Palm Springs architect Lance O’Donnell, who designed both the Blue Sky homes.


Read more about the project and watch the home’s steel frame come together during construction here.

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