Richard M. Bennett, PhD, PE, of the University of Tennessee was awarded The Masonry Society’s John B. Scalzi Research Award at the 2014 Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona in October 2014. The award was presented by Dr. Arturo Schultz on behalf of the Research Committee. Dr. Bennett is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Tennessee.
Dr. Bennett is an active member of TMS, and currently serves on its Board of Directors. He has been very active in the Masonry Standards Joint Committee, formally chairing the Flexural, Axial Loads, and Shear subcommittee, and serving as the Vice-Chair of the Main Committee for the 2013 Code. He currently chairs the 2016 TMS 402/602 Committee. He is also an Associate Editor of The Masonry Society Journal and a Fellow of The Masonry Society. He has presented a number of seminars for TMS, and is noted as an excellent presenter providing practical and needed insight. Outside of TMS, he is a member of ASTM C12 on Mortars and Grouts for Unit Masonry, and ASTM C15 on Manufactured Masonry Units.
The following are excerpts from the nomination and award presentation:
“Dr. Bennett’s contributions to masonry research over his academic career are evident, and on par with other recipients of this award. His research accomplishments are coupled with his active service to The Masonry Society in a number of roles, including his present leadership of the TMS 402/602 committee, which develops the national standard on masonry design and construction. As any active member of TMS could attest, Dr. Bennett is highly knowledgeable of a broad spectrum of code related technical issues, including current and past research activities done internationally to support changes to our code. He is particularly strong with regard to implementation of research via work on this code committee. Yet, he also has developed a respectable dossier of research accomplishments in his own right as summarized on the attached curricula vita.
Dr. Bennett has served as a member of the faculty at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville since 1983. He has won much recognition for his teaching and campus service as evidenced with over a dozen campus awards.
Professor Bennett has served as Principal Investigator on over 17 research grants related to masonry. His early work was on seismic behavior of clay tile infill walls with seven grants given by Martin Marietta Energy Systems over a four-year period. Results of this research were used to help assess existing masonry buildings at the Oakridge National Laboratory. Following this, Dr. Bennett received an NSF grant for investigating performance of masonry infills in the Northridge earthquake. Since then he has received nearly continuous support from the masonry industry, namely General Shale Brick, BIA and NCMA.
He has authored over 13 journal papers on masonry research, and approximately 30 conference or workshop papers or reports. He is perhaps most well known for recalibration of allowable stresses under wind or earthquake forces, which resulted in the elimination of the one-third overstress factor in the MSJC. He was the winner of the outstanding paper award at the 11th NAMC for his work on this topic. In addition, in 2002, he won the ASTM Yorkdale Award for best peer-reviewed masonry paper. Dr. Bennett’s academic background did not initially start with an emphasis on masonry. He attended the University of Illinois for his doctoral studies while I was still at the University of Colorado, and thus did not benefit by taking a formal masonry course since none was offered at the time. His early work in risk and reliability under Alfredo Ang was well respected in that community, though not transferable to the masonry research community. Dr. Bennett’s research interests at the start of his academic career followed from his doctoral studies and became diverse as he accepted.”