The American Iron and Steel Institute presented two awards to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to advancing the competitive use of steel in the marketplace — specifically in the construction market. The awards were presented on May 16 by Lourenco Goncalves, AISI chairman and chairman, president and CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs, at AISI’s General Meeting held at the InterContinental Hotel–The Wharf in Washington, D.C.

Goncalves presented the “2023 Market Development Industry Leadership Award” to Karl Barth, Ph.D., associate professor in the Wadsworth Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at West Virginia University. Barth works in the areas of steel bridge analysis, design and rating. He is a founding member of the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance’s Bridge Technology Center, where he advises bridge owners and designers on how to use steel for their short span steel bridge projects. These bridges have spans up to 140 feet and comprise most of America’s bridge inventory. Barth has spent decades working successfully to simplify the design of these bridges to make them more competitive in the marketplace.

He also presented the “2023 Market Development Lifetime Achievement Award” to Robert J. Wills, P.E., AISI’s vice president of construction. Wills, who is retiring this month, has worked for AISI for 33 years, where he has been responsible for overseeing work in codes and standards and the commercial buildings, residential construction and transportation/infrastructure markets. He is widely recognized for his expertise in fire safety engineering, structural fire testing and performance, wind engineering, and geotechnical and foundation engineering. He was very involved in the development of the International Building Code and the NFPA 5000 Building Construction and Safety Code.

AISI 2023 Market Development Awards Robert Wills Receiving Award

Robert Wills, P.E. (at right) accepts the “2023 Market Development Lifetime Achievement Award” from Lourenco Goncalves (left) and Kevin Dempsey (center).

Photo courtesy of AISI


“We are pleased to recognize the leadership and commitment of Dr. Karl Barth and Robert Wills and their enduring accomplishments in making steel the material of choice,” Goncalves said. “Karl’s achievements in simplifying the design of short span steel bridges to make them more competitive with concrete, and his leadership in the development of press-brake steel tub girder technology, have helped establish steel as a market leader for decades to come. And Robert’s decades of leadership and commitment to growing traditional and new markets for steel, his advocacy for innovation in steel construction and his dedication to building strong partnerships have been crucial to advancing the industry’s goals. We thank them both for their service.”