The late John F. Parmer, a founder of SEAOI and its first Executive Director, believed structural engineers should be recognized for their important role in creating our constructed environment. 

The John F. Parmer Award is presented to a structural engineer in recognition of outstanding lifelong contributions in the field of structural engineering. This award is presented jointly by SEAOI and the Structural Engineers Foundation. The candidate must be an individual whose distinguished career is acknowledged by his or her peers to be an example of excellence.


Call for Nominations

Complete the Nomination Form to nominate an individual for the Parmer Award.  Nominations should include a statement indicating why the nominee is worthy of the award, and, if possible, a copy of the nominee’s resume. Nominations for special awards should be emailed to Stephanie Crain by Monday March 26, 2018. 


Congratulations to Bill Baker, 2017 John F. Parmer Award Recipient

William F. Baker is a structural and civil engineering partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP where he has led the structural engineering practice for over 20 years. Since joining the firm in 1981, he has dedicated himself to extending the profession of structural engineering through design, research, teaching, and professional activities.

Bill is best known for the development of the “buttressed core” structural system for the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest manmade structure. While widely regarded for his work on supertall buildings, Bill’s expertise also extends to long-span roof structures and specialty structures such as the Broadgate Exchange House in London and the Entrance Pavilion for General Motors’ Headquarters in Detroit. 

Bill is actively involved with numerous professional organizations and institutions of higher learning. He is a member of SEAOI, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Concrete Institute, and the Committee on Specifications, American Institute of Steel Construction. He is also a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers, and an International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.  

David Horos, Director, Structural Engineering, SOM, noted that Bill’s colleagues describe him as brilliant, passionate, innovative, perceptive, and committed.  “In addition to his practice, Bill has spent untold hours working to better the profession by serving on committees, writing papers, and teaching. He has also encouraged and supported others to do the same…He wholeheartedly supports SEF and SEAOI and recognizes the importance of each to our community.  I hope you’ll agree that Bill is very deserving of this award.” 

(Photo courtesy of Andrew Breen)


About John F. Parmer

John F. Parmer, a structural engineer, was one of the seven founders of SEAOI. In 1965 he, along with Frank Wells and Ken Naslund, came to talk to Nissim Eskenazi and George Ellis about starting a structural engineers association in Illinois. They were joined by Henry Miller and Frank Cooper. Within a very short period of time, SEAOI was founded. John F. Parmer became the first executive director and he, as well as his wife Chris, spent many hours working for SEAOI at 173 W. Madison Street in Chicago.

In the spring of 1977, at age 88, Mr. Parmer’s health began to fail and he found it necessary to retire from SEAOI. In June of that year, SEAOI presented him with an award, the first John F. Parmer Award, for service to the profession. When Mr. Parmer passed away in the fall of 1977, his son, John C. Parmer, and daughter-in-law, Carolyn Noonan Parmer, wanted to remember him by doing something special, on his behalf, for structural engineers. Therefore, in his honor, they presented SEAOI with a check for $500.00 to fund a John F. Parmer Award, honoring a structural engineer whose distinguished career was acknowledged by their peers to be an example of excellence.

John C. Parmer passed away in September, 2005. His family continues to support the John F. Parmer Award as they have done for more than 30 years. Both SEAOI and the Structural Engineers Foundation gratefully acknowledge the Parmer family’s longstanding support of the structural engineering profession.


John F. Parmer Award Recipients

2017     William Baker
2016     Jay Paul
2015     Ron Klemencic
2014     German R. Gurfinkel
2013     Burton A. Lewis
2012     Ian R. Chin
2011     Robert A. Halvorson
2010     John (Jack) E. Barrett
2009     D. Stanton Korista
2008     Chris Stefanos
2007     Mike Tylk
2006     Charles H. Thornton
2005     John M. Hanson
2004     Ralph S. Peck
2003     Mete A. Sozen
2002     John J. Zils
2001     Chester P. Seiss
2000     Jack Janney
1999     R. Shankar Nair
1998     Kolbjorn Saether
1997     W. Gene Corley
1996     Nissim I. Eskenazi
1995     Clyde N. Baker, Jr.
1994     Eli W. Cohen
1993     Dr. Sidney A. Guralnick
1992     Srinivasa “Hal” Iyengar
1991     Leslie E. Robertson
1990     William J. Hall
1989     Eivind Hognestad
1988     Richard A. Parmelee
1987     Fazlur Rahman Khan (posthumous)
1986     Narbey Kachaturian
1985     Nicholas A. Bilandic
1984     Harry Stavrides
1983     Harold R. Sandberg
1982     Edward S. Hoffman
1981     Walter E. Hanson
1980     Alfred Benesch and Carl Metz
1979     Max Zar
1978     John Gnaedinger