Ahmad M. Itani, Ph.D., P.E. is Recipient of 2011 SMDI/AASHTO Richard S. Fountain Award

Dr. Ahmad Itani (center) receives the 2011 Richard S. Fountain award from SMDI Steel Bridge Task Force Chairman Alex Wilson, Manager of Customer Technical Services for ArcelorMittal USA (left); and Gregory R. Perfetti, Chairman of the AASHTO T-14 Steel Bridge Structures Committee and State Bridge Design Engineer, Structure Design Unit, North Carolina Department of Transportation.

WASHINGTON, DC, August 24, 2011 —The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) Steel Bridge Task Force and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Technical Committee for Structural Steel Design have named Ahmad M. Itani, Ph.D., P.E., S.E., F. ASCE as the recipient of the 2011 Richard S. Fountain Award. The award is named for the founder of the Steel Bridge Task Force.

The Richard S. Fountain Award recognizes leadership in steel bridge research and outstanding efforts to advance AASHTO specifications. Dr. Itani received the award at a recent meeting of the Steel Bridge Task Force from Alex Wilson, Chairman of SMDI’s Steel Bridge Task Force and Manager of Customer Technical Services for ArcelorMittal USA and Gregory R. Perfetti, Chairman of the AASHTO T-14 Steel Bridge Structures Committee and State Bridge Design Engineer, Structure Design Unit, North Carolina Department of Transportation.  

“Over the years, Dr. Itani has made outstanding contributions to advance the seismic design of steel structures,” Alex Wilson said. “An example is recent research that produced an innovative approach to the seismic design of new steel-girder structures and the retrofit of existing structures. In the event of a large earthquake, this new design would limit damage to the superstructure only, allowing engineers to replace only the support cross frames without having to replace the supporting columns. This design could save millions of dollars in repair costs and restore infrastructure service to affected areas more quickly. Dr. Itani’s research will change the way that our industry approaches seismic design. We wanted to recognize his work with this award, which honors another bridge design innovator, Richard Fountain.” Wilson noted that Richard S. Fountain passed away in March 2011. 

Dr.  Itani is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). He has been a member of the SMDI Steel Bridge Task Force since 1994. He is licensed as a professional engineer, structural engineer, and registered disaster safety assessor in California and as a professional engineer in Nevada. 

He has co-authored several publications and is a Fellow member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and a member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). He is an instructor of short courses offered by the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), National Bridge Research Organization (NaBRO), the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA) and the University of California-Davis Extension Program. He was the first recipient of the UNR-College of Engineering Teaching and Advising Award (2008).

Prior to joining the faculty at UNR, Dr. Itani was a bridge engineer and instructor at the Office of Structures Design and Bridge Design Academy at the California Department of Transportation.  He was also a teaching and research assistant in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan. He was educated at the Beirut Arab University in Beirut, Lebanon and the University of Michigan.
 
The Richard S. Fountain Award was established in 2001. Past recipients of the award include:

• John M. Kulicki, Ph.D., P.E., chairman and CEO of Modjeski and Masters, Inc. (2009)
• William J. Wright, Ph.D., P.E., Team Leader for Bridge Design and Construction Research, Office of Infrastructure R&D at the Federal Highway Administration’s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (2008)
• Donald W. White, Ph.D., Professor of Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Materials at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (2007)
• Dean C. Krouse, Independent Consulting Metallurgical Engineer (2006)
• Dennis R. Mertz, Associate Professor, University of Delaware (2005)
• Camille Rubeiz, former Director of Transportation and Infrastructure, AISI (2003)
• Professor Karl Frank, University of Texas at Austin (2002), and
• Mike Grubb, BSDI Ltd. (2001)

The Steel Market Development Institute’s Steel Bridge Task Force was formed more than 40 years ago to coordinate research that establishes safe, cost-effective steel bridges and to implement these developments into steel bridge design codes, specifically the AASHTO design codes. Its members include steel producers, steel fabricators, the AASHTO Technical Committee for Structural Steel Design, university faculty, consultants and representatives from the Federal Highway Administration and National Steel Bridge Alliance.

The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), grows and maintains the use of steel through strategies that promote cost-effective solutions in the automotive, construction and container markets, as well as for new-growth opportunities in non-traditional steel markets.  For more news or information, visit www.smdisteel.org.

SMDI’s Steel Bridge program is conducted under the Construction Market Council, whose investor companies include:

• AK Steel Corporation
• ArcelorMittal Dofasco
• ArcelorMittal USA LLC
• Nucor Corporation
• Severstal North America Inc.
• SSAB Americas
• Steelscape, Inc.
• ThyssenKrupp Steel USA, LLC
• United States Steel Corporation
• USS-POSCO Industries

Contact:
Debbie Bennett
Manager, SMDI and Construction Communications
Steel Market Development Institute
Tel: 202.452.7179