Industry News

ASCE Honors Class of 2024 Distinguished Members

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) announced its 2024 class of Distinguished Members, awarding eleven distinguished and active members with the highest honor ASCE can bestow. Out of ASCE’s more than 160,000 active members, only 264 in history hold the status of Distinguished Member. This honor is reserved for those who have attained eminence within the realm of engineering, whether that be construction, related arts and sciences, or engineering education. ASCE inducts a new class of Distinguished Members annually.

“Our distinguished members have made monumental contributions to the civil engineering profession throughout their careers, but perhaps most importantly, they have dedicated their time to advancing the knowledge of the next generation of professionals,” said ASCE President Marsia Geldert-Murphey, P.E. “Increasingly severe weather events and changes to the infrastructure ecosystem require engineers to find innovative solutions which break the mold. I am proud to welcome the 2024 class of Distinguished Members, each of whom have pushed boundaries throughout their career, demonstrating the forward-thinking philosophy required to improve the livelihoods of all Americans.” 

The 2024 class of Distinguished Members is as follows:

  • William F. Baker, P.E., F.SEI, Dist.M.ASCE, is a consulting partner for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Chicago, where he is known as one of the preeminent structural engineers of our time. Since the 1990s he has been a leader in developing and employing methods of advanced structural analysis and topology optimization to design more innovative, economical, and architecturally inspiring buildings. For Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, he developed his novel “buttressed core” structural system. Other skyscraper projects include the AT&T Corporate Center, Trump International Hotel & Tower, and Cayan Tower. He has given back to the engineering community by sharing his knowledge through lectures and instructed courses on the theory and design of efficient structures at MIT, University of Cambridge, Princeton University, Northwestern University, UIUC, Illinois Institute of Technology, and others.
  • JoAnn P. Browning, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, is the interim vice president of research at the University of Texas at San Antonio and is celebrated for contributions to the performance of structural concrete, providing valuable research to the civil engineering field, and sharing her knowledge with the next generation of engineers. At UTSA, she established six new B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. engineering programs. Browning was also appointed to the American Concrete Institute’s Committee 318-Structural Concrete Building Code for the 2014 cycle, making her one of the first three women members ever to join the committee. She earned her doctorate in civil engineering from Purdue University and her master's and bachelor’s from the University of Kentucky. In 2024 she was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame and awarded the Civil Engineering Alumni Achievement Award from Purdue University.
  • Benjamin Colucci-Rios, Ph.D., J.D., P.E., P.A.E., API, F.ITE, Dist.M.ASCE, is an academic senator and member of the University Board representing the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM). Colucci-Ríos is considered a visionary in best practices, innovation and technology transfer in highway traffic safety initiatives in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and has shared his wealth of knowledge as an educator and practitioner. Colucci-Ríos is a founding member of multiple engineering entities and organizations, such as the Pan-American Institute of Highways, Engineering Projects in Community Service, and the Puerto Rico section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. Colucci-Ríos was recognized in 2018 and 2023 with the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Administrator’s Public Service Award for his outstanding leadership in advancing transportation education, research and workforce development and advancing the Federal-aid highway program in Puerto Rico and USVI. He was associate director of the department of civil engineering and was a former acting Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at UPRM, is a distinguished member of the Civil Engineering Institute, and serves on the board of trustees of the Society of Engineers of Puerto Rico. 
  • Patricia J. Culligan, Ph.D., C.Eng, F.ICE,  FAAAS, Dist.M.ASCE, is the Matthew H. McCloskey Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. Culligan is recognized for contributions to geoenvironmental and sustainability engineering through research that advances sustainable solutions to water, energy, and environmental management. Recently, Culligan has led research to quantify the role of green infrastructure in urban sustainability and resilience goals. Prior to Notre Dame, Culligan was a professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics at Columbia University, where she was the founding associate director of Columbia’s Data Science Institute. She has authored or co-authored seven books and over 180 technical articles.  In 2021, Culligan was awarded the H. Bolton Seed Medal for her cumulative distinguished contributions in “expanding the boundaries of geo-environmental and sustainability engineering to enhance human health and the environment.” She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering from the University of Cambridge, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Leeds.
  • Anne M. Ellis, P.E., Hon.M.ACI, NAC, Dist.M.ASCE, an important civil engineering trendsetter and member of ASCE’s Industry Leaders Council, has been honored with inclusion by ASCE in its 2024 class of distinguished members for leadership in the advancement of engineering codes and standards, inclusion and innovation for the betterment of the AEC community. Her career extends over four decades, six continents, and numerous boundary-spanning corporate roles enabling dynamic growth and innovation in technology, business, and operations. Her deep understanding of trends and strategies related to civil engineering made her highly effective in advancing innovation. She was former executive director of the Charles Pankow Foundation (CPF), where she raised funds, built coalitions, and managed the R&D portfolio of an organization on the vanguard of engineering creativity while helping it meet its mission. Ellis’ acumen and ability are known worldwide in the field of concrete; she is co-author of the “Concrete Design and Construction” section of the Standard Handbook for Civil Engineers, Fifth Edition. Her passion in concrete was seeded by inspiring professors at Virginia Tech, Ellis was the first woman to chair the National Institute of Building Science’s board of directors, first female professional engineer to serve as president of the American Concrete Institute, and the first woman to be elected Honorary Fellow of the Institute on Concrete Technology (UK). She has served six U.S. Cabinet secretaries by appointment to two federal advisory committees: the Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee and the National Coal Council. 
  • Neil S. Grigg, Ph.D., P.E., BC.WRE (Ret.), Dist.M.ASCE, is a professor of civil engineering at Colorado State University, known as an influential public official and consulting engineer and for extraordinary contributions in water resources management. In 1979, Grigg became the North Carolina Assistant Secretary for Natural Resources and director of environmental management where he led efforts to create the Office of Water Resources, which became the Division of Water Resources later.  His work in the agency resulted in being given the 1981 Governor’s Award for Environmental Protection. A decade later, Grigg was named director of the Colorado Water Resources Institute and then was appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court as river master for the Pecos River, a role he has held for 37 years. He has written 15 books and, in 2015, was recognized with ASCE/EWRI’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Grigg earned his doctorate from Colorado State University, his master’s from Auburn University, and his bachelor’s degree from U.S. Military Academy.
  • Ning Lu, Ph.D., F.EMI, Dist.M.ASCE, is currently a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Colorado School of Mines and is recognized for his contributions to understanding soil behavior by generalizing effective stress and unifying pore water pressure for saturated and unsaturated porous media. His work enhances the safety and economy of civil engineering designs. He has been working on challenging engineering problems in chemical transport in clayey soil, underground nuclear waste isolation, residential house foundation damage by expansive clays, and, most recently, precipitation-induced shallow landslides. Lu regularly teaches mechanics and hydrology of variably saturated porous media with the textbook he co-authored, Unsaturated Soil Mechanics, which is used worldwide as the gold standard in the field.
  • Eyad A. Masad, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, is Texas A&M’s Zachry professor of design and construction. His research focuses on pavement engineering, particularly the use of micromechanical techniques for the analysis of geomaterials and asphalt concretes. He has published over 400 technical papers, reports, and journal papers, several of which have received best-paper awards. He is the co-author of the influential book Pavement Design and Materials. He has established more than a few research laboratories and chaired/co-chaired many conferences, symposia, and workshops sponsored by professional organizations all over the world.  
  • Roger M. Millar, Jr., P.E., F.AICP, Dist.M.ASCE, is currently Secretary of Transportation for the state of Washington. He is recognized for his leadership and international eminence in transportation engineering, seeking to make transportation not an end unto itself, but rather the means toward economic vitality, environmental stewardship, social equity, public health, and aesthetic quality. In 2016, Governor Jay Inslee appointed Millar secretary of transportation for Washington state, where his significant contributions continue as he oversees a multimodal transportation agency with over 7,500 employees and an annual budget of $5 billion. Under his leadership, WSDOT has integrated land use and transportation planning, becoming a beacon of innovative practices and embodying ASCE’s commitment to public welfare. He is currently a member of the Surface Transportation Board Passenger Rail Advisory Committee, the USDOT Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity, and the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Committee Subcommittee on Advancing Workforce Development.
  • Anand J. Puppala, Ph.D., P.E., BC.GE, F.ICE, Dist.M.ASCE, is currently the A.P. Wiley & Florence Chair Professor of Zachry Civil and Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M University. The recognition is for his outstanding contributions in reducing damages of infrastructure built on problematic soils and enhancing resilience of floor control structures via sustainable ground improvement methods, site characterization, risk assessments, and integration of innovative data-driven technologies for transportation infrastructure monitoring and asset management. Puppala is a past chair of the Soil Mechanics section (AFS00) of the Transportation Research Board. He also chaired the ASCE Geo-Institute Committee on Engineering Geology and Site Characterization and TRB’s Committee on Soil and Rock Instrumentation. His scholarly research record includes over 540 publications, among them 220-plus journal articles, and he has edited seven special publications. Many best-paper honors are attached to his writings, including the 2023 R.M. Quigley Award from the Canadian Geotechnical Journal and the 2024 J. James R. Croes Medal from ASCE.
  • Timothy D. Stark, Ph.D., P.E., BC.GE, Dist.M.ASCE, is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Stark is recognized for his contributions to education and research in advancing the understanding of two-and-three-dimensional stability of natural and man-made slopes, and the measurement and evaluation of the static and seismic peak, post-peak, and residual strength of soils. He has been conducting research and teaching slopes, embankments, and earth structures for over 30 years. Stark has also focused recent research on the reliability of drilled shafts for bridge foundations. Stark has won many awards, including 12 from ASCE alone. 

The eleven new Distinguished Members of ASCE will be formally inducted on October 7 at the OPAL Gala at the 2024 ASCE Convention in Tampa, Florida.

For more information on ASCE Distinguished Members and criteria, go to