Barenberg, Thompson honored with Distinguished Faculty Award
Above: CEE Associate Head for Graduate Affairs Jeff Roesler, left, with Ernie Barenberg, center, and Marshall Thompson, at their award luncheon Oct. 13.
By Celeste Arbogast
Professors Emeritus Ernest J. Barenberg (PhD 65) and Marshall R. Thompson (BS 60, MS 62, PhD 64) were honored Oct. 13 with CEE Alumni Association (CEEAA) Distinguished Faculty Awards at a luncheon in the Newmark Lab crane bay attended by members of the CEEAA Board of Directors, current faculty and staff, fellow emeriti, family and guests. The award was established in 2016 as a way to honor faculty in the department who are also alumni. Selection is made by the CEEAA awards committee. Professor Emeritus William J. Hall was the inaugural awardee.
Barenberg was honored “for technical contributions to the theoretical understanding of pavement behavior and responses; leadership in the mechanistic-empirical design of concrete pavements; for innovations in post-tensioned and precast concrete pavement; for a passion to mentor graduate students and challenge students to strive toward a high standard of professional excellence; and for 30 years of teaching CEE students the importance of the engineering decision-making process.”
Barenberg earned his B.S. degree in civil engineering from Kansas State University and his M.S. in structural engineering from the University of Kansas. After earning his Ph.D. from Illinois in 1965, he spent nearly 40 years on the faculty. His appointments at Illinois included a four-year term as the Associate Head of Civil Engineering, coordinating the departmental graduate students and research programs. For three years he also maintained a joint appointment at the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory. He served as director of the Association of American Railroads affiliate program at Illinois from its inception in 1983 through 1998, and as an associate director of the FAA Center of Excellence for airport pavements for more than eight years.
Barenberg’s research interests were in concrete pavements, paving materials and railroad track systems, and he has made many contributions to these fields through his research and consulting activities. He was instrumental in developing design standards for pavements at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and for London’s Heathrow and Gatwick Airports, and developed the background and framework for the mechanistic-based design procedures for concrete pavements currently used by the Illinois Department of Transportation. He has been a part of the design team for several post-tensioned concrete pavements, including those currently in service at O’Hare Airport and Rockford Airport. The pavement at the Rockford Airport is unique in that the post-tensioned pavement is 1,200 feet long and 75 feet wide and does not have a joint in either the longitudinal or transverse direction.
Barenberg’s honors include being designated a lifetime National Associate of the National Academies in “recognition of extraordinary service to the National Academies in its role as adviser to the Nation in matters of science, engineering and health” in 2004; being named Educator of the Year by the American Concrete Pavement Association in 2002; receiving the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Robert Horonjeff Award for “outstanding contributions to airport paving engineering” in 1998; and being inducted as an Honorary Member into the International Society for Concrete Pavements in 2001.
Thompson was honored “for technical contributions to transportation and pavement engineering through characterization of asphalt, granular and soil materials responses, behavior, and performance; for the development of new flexible pavement design methods for roads and airfields, and to soil improvement techniques and procedures for horizontal construction and vehicle mobility; for innovations, such as first backcalculation procedure, high-strength stabilized base design, and asphalt overlay of rubblized concrete design; and for more than 35 years of teaching and mentoring CEE students.”
Thompson joined the faculty in 1964 after earning all three degrees from the department. He retired from the active faculty in 1996 but is still professionally active in research and consulting, and still maintains an office in Newmark Lab. In addition to research and teaching, Thompson’s career has afforded him field experience with the Illinois Division of Highways and contractors and extensive consulting experience in airfield and highway pavements, soils and materials, and railroads for various governmental agencies, consultants, industry and contractors.
His research interests are in flexible pavement analysis, design and construction; paving materials; subgrade soils and subgrade stability; soil/material stabilization; and concrete pavement rehabilitation (rubblization). He was the Director of the Illinois DOT - University of Illinois Cooperative Highway and Transportation Research Program from 1987-1997. He has been involved in numerous research studies relating to soils, materials and pavements for highways and airfields, sponsored by many government agencies and industry groups.
Thompson has published more than 205 technical journal papers, bulletins and research reports. He developed the Mechanistic-Empirical flexible pavement design procedures that have been used since 1989 by the Illinois DOT. His recent work includes the characterization and design of Rubblized PCC concrete pavements with HMA Overlays and HMA Perpetual Pavement design.
Thompson’s many honors have included receiving the Distinguished Service Award from the Asphalt Institute in 2012; being elected to the National Asphalt Paving Association’s HMA Hall of Fame in 2005; receiving the Transportation Research Board’s K.B. Woods Award for outstanding technical paper in the field of design and construction of transportation facilities in 2000; and being named the Illinois Asphalt Paving Association’s “Man of the Year” in 1995.