(SCHAUMBURG, ILLINOIS, January 31, 2013) – The Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI) is pleased to announce the creation of the CRSI Distinguished Service Award and the Institute’s first recipient, Bob Brack.

The CRSI Distinguished Service Award was prompted by Bob Brack’s career-long dedication to both the reinforced concrete industry and the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute. Brack is a business owner and philanthropist who spent nearly 50 years working in rebar with family-owned Barker Steel in Massachusetts. He has also been a past treasurer, executive board member, and president of the CRSI Education & Research Foundation. The Foundation is a nonprofit educational foundation responsible for funding and administering graduate and undergraduate scholarships for architectural and/or engineering students; and scholarships and/or training programs at vocational/technical schools which offer programs in estimating and/or detailing of reinforcing steel.

Robert Barker Brack graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in 1960 with a degree in civil engineering. He started working at Barker Steel the next year and assumed leadership of the company in 1976. Under Brack’s leadership, the company grew to 17 locations in 11 states and nearly 600 employees. He sold the business to Harris Rebar in 2007. He retired in 2012.

From the beginning, Brack was heavily involved with the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, of which Barker Steel is a founding member. His expertise and knowledge of the field has helped CRSI become one of the leading technical resources in the concrete industry. During his tenure as director, the CRSI Education & Research Foundation has handed out thousands of dollars in scholarships and research projects, funding research that advances the use of steel-reinforced concrete in construction.

Brack’s charity isn’t only limited to his professional work, however. He has generously supported his alma mater, the University of Massachusetts, as well as founding his own philanthropic endeavors. UMass awarded Brack a Distinguished Achievement Award in 2009, in recognition of his many years of support for the civil and environmental engineering department. He served on the department’s advisory board and donated materials to the Structural Engineering and Mechanics Group at the university. He also established an undergraduate student endowment as well as fellowships at the graduate and post-doctoral levels in structure and mechanics.

Brack also established a foundation in memory of his late wife. The Joan H. Brack Charitable Foundation donates thousands of dollars yearly to support organizations, including church groups, reading programs, career programs, pediatric patient programs, and more.

First Honoree
Culminating in a well-deserved standing ovation, CRSI members honored the contributions of Bob Brack of Barker Steel to CRSI and the industry for his more than 40 years of commitment as the first recipient of the CRSI Distinguished Service Award. Bill Brack with Harris Rebar and Tony Limbardo with EDC provided the introductions during dinner at CRSI’s Fall Business & Technical Meeting in November, 2012.

Bob Risser, President and CEO of CRSI stated, “Bob Brack brought a passion to better not only the Institute, but the industry, and from that we have all benefitted. His career-long dedication to CRSI and the Foundation, as well as his personal philanthropy, speaks volumes. It was a pleasure for CRSI to recognize Bob in this capacity, to highlight his accomplishments, contributions and generosity.”

Award Requirements
Adopted by the Board of Directors this year, the award honors individuals or organizations for outstanding dedication, long-term commitment, participation and leadership in CRSI and the concrete reinforcing steel community. Bob Brack was also named by the Board of Directors as an Honorary Member of CRSI.

Starting in the spring of 2013, nominations for the Distinguished Service Award can be submitted to CRSI by any active member. Nominations will be considered each summer by the CRSI Executive Committee and recipients will be acknowledged at the Fall Business and Technical Meeting.