Charles Thornton, co-founder of Thornton Tomasetti, earns Construction Industry Institute's top award

July 31, 2009 |

(New York – July 31, 2009) - Charles H. Thornton, Ph.D., P.E., chairman of Charles Thornton and Company LLC and co-founder of Thornton Tomasetti, the international engineering firm with practices in building structure, building skin and building performance, has been honored by the Construction Industry Institute (CII) with the Carroll H. Dunn Award of Excellence.

The Construction Industry Institute established the Carroll H. Dunn Award of Excellence in 1985 to honor an individual for significant achievements in improving the engineering and construction industry.

The award is CII’s highest honor and is recognized as one of the most prestigious awards of its kind in the construction industry. Dr. Thornton is the 23rd recipient of the award.

Carroll H. Dunn was the project director of the Construction Industry Cost Effectiveness (CICE) Project, which was sponsored by The Business Roundtable and led to the creation of the Construction Industry Institute. Dunn had a highly decorated career in the United States Army Corps of Engineers, retiring as  lieutenant general. During his military career, Dunn served in World War II and later served as Director of the Titan II Missile Program and was division engineer of the Corps’ Southwestern Division.

According to the CII executive committee, “Charlie’s creativity, tenacity and work ethic have led to accomplishments that take shape as brilliant structures in locations around the world. Through his life’s work, and by generously sharing his expertise and lighting the path for young talent, Charlie has propelled our industry forward and elevated our standard of excellence. For these reasons and more, he has exceeded the criteria and secured his place around the table with past Dunn Award recipients.”

Dr. Thornton has received a number of distinguished honors, including: election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1997; named Honorary Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1999; awarded Engineering News-Record’s Award of Excellence 2001; selected to receive the Hoover Medal for 2002; and selected to receive the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Civil Engineering for 2003; elected to membership in the National Academy of Construction in 2005 and elected to Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects in 2006.

Throughout his career as a structural engineer, Dr. Thornton has been involved in the engineering of hospitals, arenas, high-rise buildings, airports and transportation facilities worldwide. His expertise extends to the areas of collapse and structural failure analysis, and the firm he co-founded, Thornton Tomasetti, was charged with overseeing the rescue and clean-up operations after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York.

The firm recently announced the establishment of the Thornton Tomasetti Foundation to support the education and community outreach activities of students aspiring to careers in the design profession. Dr. Thornton is also chairman and founder of the Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) Mentor Program and chairman emeritus of the Salvadori Center, a nonprofit educational organization in New York. Through these organizations, Dr. Thornton has and continues to guide thousands of young people toward careers in architecture, engineering and construction.

“The Construction Industry Institute is privileged to name Charles H. Thornton a Dunn Award recipient for his pioneering projects and skyward achievements, for leading others in cheering for academic pursuits, for his contagious enthusiasm in exposing students to our industry through the ACE program and for his head-on immersion approach to learning and life,” said Wayne Crew, director of CII. “Because of the many ways that Charlie’s professional aspirations and passions have merged, he has achieved the status of revered teacher and industry leader. It’s been said that creativity is intelligence having fun. This is, perhaps, a fit summary of Charlie and the trail he has blazed.”


About Thornton Tomasetti, Inc. (

Thornton Tomasetti provides engineering services to clients worldwide on projects of all sizes and complexity, with practices in building structure, building skin and building performance. From the tallest buildings and the longest spans, to innovative building systems and materials, the firm is committed to creating the best solutions through technical ingenuity, pursuit of excellence, and responsiveness to client needs. Thornton Tomasetti is an award-winning 600-person organization of engineers and architects collaborating from offices across the United States and in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.


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