Launch Slideshow

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Ten Influential People

Ten Influential People

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    Calatrava stands behind his model for the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub.

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Terry J. Fricks, The Fricks Company Flat out quality

Terry Fricks and his sons have a reputation for constructing durable, well-executed industrial floors. They make it a point to revisit installations years afterwards to see how their work is performing so they can make changes to improve the final product.

Fricks started working for his father's construction company when he was young, discovering that he particularly liked working with concrete. In 1974 he formed his own company and by the mid-1980s was placing as much as 20 million square feet of flatwork a year in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. During that time a customer in the food industry hired Fricks to install a “superflat floor”—a new term in those days. After learning how to install them, Fricks began marketing superflat floors as a specialty. Today the company also specializes in highly durable floors. They now have their own in-house materials lab to develop concrete mixes for their jobs all over the country, paying attention to all the components in concrete, particularly aggregates. They also place floors using concrete with maximum slumps between 3 and 4 inches.

Fricks became involved with the American Concrete Institute in the mid-1980s, joining ACI Committee 302, Construction of Concrete Floors. In the beginning he didn't think he knew enough about concrete but didn't like that others were controlling his work with their specifications. Over the years, though, he has become a leading force on the committee and currently is helping in the effort to keep the guidelines updated and in line with current technology.

Fricks has always believed that when contractors grow and their knowledge of the industry improves, industry standards improve. Toward that end he teaches seminars at the World of Concrete each year and supports the work of ACI with his time and talents.

Surendra P. Shah, Northwestern University Enquiring mind, collaborative spirit

The combination of an enquiring mind and a collaborative spirit is a nearly unstoppable force, as witnessed by the mark Surendra P. Shah has left, and continues to make, on the concrete industry. Dr. Shah is the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Civil Engineering at Northwestern University and director of the university's Center for Advanced Cement-Based Materials (ACBM), a position he has held since establishing ACBM in 1989.

Over the years Shah's research has often focused on understanding the connection between concrete's microscopic behavior and its structural response. He has done pioneering research investigating such things as fiber reinforced concrete, high-performance concrete, fracture mechanics of brittle materials, and self-consolidating concrete. Under his leadership at ACBM, hundreds of students and visiting scholars have contributed to our deeper understanding of cement and concrete through research, education, and technology transfer.

A true champion of technology transfer, Shah has co-authored three books and helped edit the proceedings of more than 20 symposia. He has more than 400 published articles and has organized and spoken at numerous technical meetings around the world. Under his leadership, ACBM has sponsored two highly successful conferences on self-consolidating concrete.

Shah earned a bachelor's degree from B.V.M. College, Bombay, India, a master's degree from Lehigh University, and a doctorate from Cornell University. He taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois at Chicago before joining the Northwestern faculty in 1981.

Among his many accolades, Shah was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering where he was honored “for his work on advanced cement-based materials and for promoting interdisciplinary research and education on concrete materials.”