Dr. Clay Naito, associate professor of structural engineering at Lehigh University was named PCI’s Distinguished Educator for 2015.  Dr. Adel El-Safty, professor of civil environmental engineering at University of North Florida, was chosen as PCI’s Educator of the Year.  Awards will be presented during the Fall 2015 PCI Committee Days Conference in October.

The Distinguished Educator Award was developed by PCI’s Student Education Committee and recognizes distinguished engineering, architecture, and/or construction technology educators who have made significant and sustained educational contributions to the precast/prestressed concrete industry. Naito has been teaching at Lehigh University for more than 13 years.  He received his PhD and master of science degrees in civil engineering from The University of California Berkeley after completing his bachelor of science degree in civil engineering at The University of Hawaii Manoa. Naito is currently the associate chair of the department of civil and environmental engineering at Lehigh University.

Naito has been a strong contributor to PCI since joining in 2003, serving on PCI’s Technical Activities Council and holding officer positions on PCI’s Blast Resistance and Structural Integrity Committee and a special Strand Bond Task Force.  He served on a Blue Ribbon review committee for the 7th edition of the PCI Design Handbook and is currently a member of the 8th edition handbook committee. 

Naito has made a profound industry impact in the area of blast and progressive collapse.  His work on blast research, in conjunction with the Air Force Research Laboratory, was cited by numerous supporters of his nomination for the Distinguished Educator Award as work that “will advance the use of precast/prestressed concrete.”  The research looked at concrete wall construction in the United States and tested precast panels under both static and dynamic loads and was summarized in a PCI video below.

In the classroom, Naito has taught the design of precast/prestressed concrete structures at Lehigh University since 2007 and has advised student teams participating in the PCI Big Beam Competition since 2008.  His commitment to his students as he teaches and mentors them in their precast/prestressed concrete studies and his commitment to PCI and precast concrete structures industry make Dr. Naito the ideal recipient of PCI’s 2015 Distinguished Educator Award.

The Educator of the Year Award recognizes engineering, architecture, and/or construction technology educators who have made significant contributions to the precast/prestressed concrete industry in their early careers in academia. El-Safty, professor of civil and environmental engineering at University of North Florida, has been a member of PCI since 2011.  He received his PhD in 1994 from North Carolina State University.

During his tenure at University of North Florida, El-Safty was instrumental in developing courses focused on precast/prestressed concrete for the first time.  He included prestressed topics into courses on reinforced concrete design, bridge engineering, and advanced mechanics of materials.  In addition, he developed a course specifically focused on prestressed concrete titled CES6715-Prestressed Concrete.

The PCI Foundation has also recognized the efforts of El-Safty by supporting his development of a precast/prestressed engineering design studio at University of North Florida.  He advises students participating in the PCI Big Beam Competition and mentors many more, working with graduate and undergraduate students on various concrete research projects.  The local PCI region in Florida wholeheartedly supported El-Safty’s nomination citing “his classroom teaching style, his interactions with his students, [and] his motivation to expand precast engineering” as clear examples of his being deserving of the award this year.

PCI congratulates Naito and El-Safty on their dedication to the precast concrete industry and its future workforce and looks forward to conferring upon them their awards at the Fall PCI Committee Days Conference in October 2015.