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NYC “Skywalker” Population Dwindles
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 30, 2012 at 2:18 PM.

Did you know that some of the country’s most iconic steel structures, including the Empire State Building and the original World Trade Center, were built by generations of Mohawk tribe ironworkers (also known as “Indian Skywalkers”)?  


According to a NPR story, aired earier this month, for the past century a small Indian reserve in Kahnawake, Quebec (near Montreal) has supplied the U.S. with a proud lineage of Mohawk ironworkers. But with fewer Mohawks going into the trade, the tradition may be on the wane.


At the peak, in the 1950s, there were as many as 800 Mohawks living in New York City; many were likely drawn to the high-rise ironworker trade for its pay and benefits, according to the article. Today, however, there are only about 200 Mohawk ironworkers building NYC skyscrapers.


Mike Delisle, the grand chief of Kahnawake, says one reason for the decline is that young tribal workers are taking more jobs in the thriving tobacco industry on the reserve rather than choosing to apprentice as ironworkers. He hopes more of the tribe will return to the trade that helped build not only the New York City skyline, but also the tribe’s own town in Canada.


You can listen to the full audio news story, as well as read the print version, on NPR’s website, (direct link: The article also includes a link to a three-minute video that profiles a Mohawk ironworker, Kaniehtakeron “Geggs” Martin, who’s been climbing steel for 15 years.

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Steel Structure Trivia: Span on the Strait
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 27, 2012 at 10:01 AM.


Here’s MSC’s April Steel Structure Trivia question! This detailed photo shows one of the intricate steel supports for a 4,200-ft-long icon. Can you name this steel structure? Photo: Larry Flynn


golden-gate-larry-flynn_small.jpgAnswer: This steel structure is the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco! (The photo was taken from South Vista Point — if you click on the thumbnail, in the bottom left corner you’ll see the arched steel trusses that support the structure — you can also see the lighthouse at Fort Point) Congratulations to Jon Gerlach of Infrastructure/Design 1 in New York, N.Y.; Kris White of United Performance Metals in Hamilton, Ohio; and Anantha Chittur of Baldridge and Associates, Inc., in Palatine, Ill., for being the first three people to submit the correct answer! And thank you to all who participated.

The Golden Gate Bridge, one of the world’s longest suspension bridges, spans the Golden Gate strait (its total length is 8,981 ft - about 1.7 miles!), which connects the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Declared one of the modern “Wonders of the World” by ASCE, the bridge was completed in 1937 and today provides passage to nearly 107,000 users a day.


At 4,200 ft long, and with a vertical clearance of 220 ft at mid-span, the Golden Gate Bridge suspension span was considered the longest in the world for 27 years until New York City’s Verrazano Narrows bridge took that title in 1964. The Golden Gate Bridge’s main towers, suspended structure, anchorages and approaches account for the 83,000 tons of structural steel used on the project.


The Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary is coming up this May 27th! If you live in the area and haven’t yet made plans for Memorial Day weekend — which is also when nearly 600 students will converge at Clemson University, S.C., to compete in the ASCE/AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition (NSSBC) — consider joining the anniversary celebration at the Golden Gate Festival, open to the public. You can also check out other Golden Gate Bridge tribute and anniversary events happening throughout the month of May at


The Golden Gate Bridge received an NSBA Prize Bridge Award in 1937, and was also named an “Industry Choice” winner in NSBA’s special “America’s Favorite Bridges” competition last year. You can read a description about the bridge, and the other selected favorites in the U.S., in the November 2011 issue of MSC (direct link to the article:


You can test your steel structure knowledge right here on our MSC website on the last Friday of each month, where a new photo showing only a detailed portion of a steel structure will be posted to the Steel in the News section as our weekly “Steel Shot.” Your challenge is to correctly answer the trivia question provided in the news post, based on what you see in the photo. The next question will be posted at 10 a.m. (CDT) on Friday, May 25.


backscratcher-007_sitn.jpgThe first three people who supply the correct answer will receive a MSC-branded stainless steel back scratcher! You’ll need it to successfully tackle those pesky itches after the trivia pressure subsides. (And check out that telescoping action! Wow!) Its five-fingered curved design reaches from 7 in. to 20 3/4 in. in length.

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John Koch, Steel Structures Expert, Dies at 86
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 26, 2012 at 2:48 PM.

w0025270-1_1715141.jpgJohn F. W. Koch, a highly respected structural engineer who stayed involved in AISC activities for more than two decades, passed away on April 13, 2012 at the age of 86. He served as Chairman of AISC’s Steel Structures Research Committee from 1976 to 1980.


Koch was born on December 16, 1925. He served in the U.S. Military in the European Theater from 1944 to 1946. In 1950, he graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.


He started his engineering career at Swift & Company in Chicago, then spent four years in Paducah, Ky. with F.H. McGraw Construction Company before returning to his hometown of Evansville, Ind. to work for International Steel Company, where he stayed for 31 years. His first structural design upon returning home was the steel framing for the original Roberts Stadium. After that, he worked for SISTEEL for four years before managing his own consulting firm for several years. He retired from Hodge Structural Engineering in Evansville.


Koch served on many boards, engineering-related and otherwise, including: Wesselman Nature Center; Historic Preservation Society; Girl Scouts; Evansville ARC; Horizon Homes Retirement Village; National Society of Professional Engineers; and American Society of Professional Engineers. He served as president for several organizations, including: Indiana Society of Professional Engineering; Evansville Day School; Lutheran School Board; Trinity Lutheran School; Purdue Alumni Association; Purdue Presidents Council; and Evansville Purdue Club.


He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Wanda “Luke” Koch; son, John F.W. Koch II; daughter, Amy Jo Badger; brother, William B. Koch; sisters Barbara Stahlschmidt and Helen Klamer; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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LEED 2012 Voter Registration Ends May 1
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 25, 2012 at 2:09 PM.

Want a say in the LEED 2012 development process? Opt-in!


U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) members have until Tuesday, May 1, to opt-in to vote on the LEED 2012 ballot by joining the consensus body.


The fourth and last public comment period for USGBC’s LEED Rating System Development (LEED 2012) will be open from May 1 until May 15; once the comment period process concludes, LEED 2012 will be balloted from June 1 until June 30 and will launch in November.


To opt-in to vote for LEED 2012, visit USGBC’s website at (direct link: To learn more about LEED 2012 and how to participate in the final public comment period, go to

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AceCad Debuts BIMReview at NASCC
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 25, 2012 at 9:09 AM.

bim-graphic.jpgAceCad Software, an international supplier of software solutions for the structural steel industry, has introduced BIMReview, a new collaborative BIM project review tool for design, procurement and construction teams. The product was launched at the 2012 NASCC: The Steel Conference last week in Dallas and is AceCad’s first release in BIM solutions for managing supply content from the design stage to the construction site.


BIMReview enables collaborative review and visual communication and features tools for decision support; clash verification; enquiries; mark-ups; construction sequencing; and planning. The product is able to import models and associated Meta data from various BIM design authoring tools to provide a consolidated model for project review.


To learn more about BIMReview, visit

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Award-Winning Structural Steel Projects Announced
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 23, 2012 at 4:01 PM.

Ten structural steel building projects have earned national recognition in AISC’s prestigious Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS2) awards program. This year’s winning projects were recognized on April 18 during the 2012 NASCC: The Steel Conference in Grapevine, Texas.


The IDEAS2 awards recognize outstanding achievements in engineering and architecture on steel-framed building projects throughout the U.S. The award is the highest honor bestowed on building projects by the structural steel industry in the U.S.


A panel of design and construction industry professionals identified National and Merit winners in three categories, based on constructed value: projects less than $15 million; projects $15 million to $75 million; and projects greater than $75 million. In addition, the panel awarded a Presidential Award of Excellence to one project for structural engineering and architectural accomplishment.


The 10 IDEAS2 winners were chosen from nearly 100 submissions received from architecture and engineering firms throughout the U.S. The 2012 award-winning projects are:


Projects Less Than $15 Million

  •     National Award: Robert I. Schroder Pedestrian Overcrossing, Walnut Creek, Calif.
  •     National Award: Campus Commons – The State University of New York at New Paltz
  •     Merit Award: Pedestrian Walkway – St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Stockton, Calif.
  •     Merit Award: Great American Tower at Queen City Square Roof-Top Tiara, Cincinnati, Ohio

Projects $15 Million to $75 Million

  •     National Award: Robert B. Aikens Commons – University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Mich.
  •     National Award: Centra at Metropark office building, Iselin, N.J.

Projects Greater than $75 Million

  •     National Award: Irving Convention Center, Irving, Texas
  •     Merit Award: UCSF Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building, San Francisco
  •     Merit Award: Penn State Millennium Science Complex, University Park, Pa.


Presidential Award of Excellence in Engineering and Architecture

  •     Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

For more information about this year’s IDEAS2 awards, view AISC’s press release at The award-winning projects will also be featured in the May 2012 edition of MSC, available May 1.

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Nearly Two Dozen Webinars Streaming Live from NASCC
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 17, 2012 at 1:39 PM.

The 2012 NASCC: The Steel Conference opens tomorrow in Dallas, but even if you’re not at the conference you can still join us and learn valuable steel design and construction information from the comfort of your home or office. AISC will be streaming a total of 22 sessions live from the conference.


From prequalified connections to tips for validating the results of structural engineering software, this year’s virtual conference, NASCC Live, offers some of the best continuing education available and is the next best thing to attending the conference in person. Virtual attendees can attend up to 11 of the offered sessions and also receive up to 14 professional development hours. For more information and to register, visit


If you will be in Dallas for the conference, we’re looking forward to seeing you there! Stop by and say hello to MSC staff at our booth (#241). The editors will also be sharing information and photos from the show on our MSC website and via Twitter @ModernSteel. We encourage you to tweet your conference experiences and chat about the show using the following hash tag: #2012nascc  


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Thornton Tomasetti Releases Report on Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 16, 2012 at 11:11 AM.

In August 2011, international engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti  was contracted by the Indiana State Fair Commission to conduct a forensic investigation into the causes of the August 13, 2011 collapse incident at the Indiana State Fair in which a stage collapsed, killing seven and injuring more than 40. Last week, Thornton Tomasetti’s findings were presented to the Commission at a press conference in Indianapolis.


You can view and download a PDF of Thornton Tomasetti’s engineering report, as well as the presentation delivered at the press conference, on Thornton Tomasetti’s website at (direct link:


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Steel Shots: Open Learning
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 13, 2012 at 4:18 PM.


The New Children’s Museum in San Diego offers a unique learning environment for kids and families–including its infrastructure. The building’s exposed structural materials and open spaces foster creativity and education while providing a great lesson on how architectural and structural elements work together in harmony. (Click on the photo to see an outside view of the project.) Photo: Geoff Weisenberger


The school year is almost over, but learning continues at the New Children’s Museum, located in San Diego’s Marina District.


Designed by architect Rob Wellington Quigley, the museum is a three-level, 50,000-sq.-ft series of transparent, flexible spaces that visibly expose the building’s construction and design–inspiring children and families to think, play, and create.


2011-07-09_19-28-45_79_sitn_trojanhorse_small.jpgOpened in May 2008, the building contains expansive galleries, open studio environments, and an Arts Education Center that offers various classes and camps. It features interactive art exhibitions such as 33-ft-high wooden Trojan horse sculpture, which visitors can actually go into.


The facility is also one of the first green museums in California. The structure uses environmentally sustainable architecture and construction practices, including recycled building materials, a passive air-handling system, photovoltaic panels, water-saving devices, daylighting and convection cooling.



A few blocks from the building is a park and playground that extends the museum’s exposed structural materials to the outdoors. The open steel structure features swing sets and various laser-cut messages in the roof.




(Check out the laser-cutting precision of one of the roof messages from a creative viewpoint!)






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Nucor Vice President Elected to AISC Board
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 12, 2012 at 2:05 PM.

head-shot-2012-2_300.jpgChad Utermark, vice president and general manager of Nucor-Yamato Steel and Nucor Castrip Arkansas, was appointed to AISC’s Board of Directors during its recent quarterly meeting. Utermark will assist with the organization’s planning and leadership in the steel construction industry.


“Nucor has been a strong and active supporter of AISC’s programs since 2001, when Dan DiMicco joined the AISC Board,” commented AISC Chair William B. (Brad) Bourne III of Universal Steel, Inc., Lithonia, Ga. “I am very pleased to have Chad’s business and leadership experience on our Board, and I thank him for his commitment.”


Utermark joined Nucor two decades ago during the construction of its second sheet mill, Nucor Steel Arkansas. He started out as a roll mill utility worker and spent eight years in production. After that he served as a hot mill manager and joined the Nucor Steel Texas division in 2004 as a rolling mill and shipping manager. In 2008, he became vice president and general manager before transitioning into his current position last year.


More information can be found in AISC’s press release, here:

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