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Distinguished Professor Emeritus Sami Rizkalla wins PCI Titan Award

Distinguished Professor Emeritus Sami Rizkalla won the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Titan Award, the highest honor bestowed upon PCI members.

PCI Titans are nominated and honored every ten years on the anniversary of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute. The Titans of the Industry are dedicated individuals who have provided exceptional contributions, and have demonstrated outstanding leadership and service in innovation and in advancing the growth of the precast concrete industry. 

Sami Rizkalla

Rizkalla received the PCI Distinguished Educator Award in 2008 and was named a PCI Fellow in 2009. His involvement with PCI includes founding and chairing the group’s Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Composites Committee. 

“Sami Rizkalla is internationally recognized and lauded for his decades of contributions to the pre-cast concrete industry,” PCI noted as part of the awards ceremony. “Sami is a patent holder and a prolific author with nearly 300 publications to his name. His work has been recognized by dozens of honors and awards. … An innovative researcher and educator, Sami is known for his ability to communicate complex engineering concepts and for his dedication to advancing pre-cast concrete technology. He has advised and mentored countless students and young professionals, many of whom are now leaders in industry and academia.” 

“It’s a pleasure to be a member of PCI,” Rizkalla said. “I call PCI a family rather than an institution because of the kind of feeling you have when you come to PCI, like you’re talking to your own family. People share experiences, share innovation and are very friendly.” 

Dr. Sami Rizkalla moved to the U.S. in 1971 after working as a practicing structural engineer in Egypt. He earned his MSCE in 1974 and Ph.D. in 1976 from NC State. He then started his academic career as an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Manitoba, Canada, where he moved up the ranks and was promoted to professor in 1988. Rizkalla served as an associate dean in the college’s faculty of engineering from 1992 to 1994. During his career, he served as president and scientific director of the Canadian Networks of Centers of Excellence on “Intelligent Sensing for Innovative Structures.” Rizkalla was largely responsible for the design and construction of the first “smart” bridges in North America reinforced with durable FRP materials. In 2000, he returned to NC State as a Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering and Construction. He remained at the university until his retirement in 2017. Rizkalla also served as the director of the department’s Constructed Facilities Laboratory and the site director of the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) on the Repair of Buildings and Bridges with Composites and director of the I/UCRC on Integrating Composites into Infrastructure. He was among the founding members of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Committee 440: Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Reinforcement and served as the committee chair from 1997 to 2003. 

During his 40-year career in academia, Rizkalla served as the chair/co-chair of more than 70 research-based M.S. students and more than 30 Ph.D. students. His research and contributions to the profession have been recognized by many awards, including being named a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, International Institute for FRP in Construction, and ACI. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Institute for FRP in Construction and was named an honorary member of the ACI. Rizkalla was inducted into the CCEE Alumni Hall of Fame in 2022.