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Special Awards

The John F. Parmer Award

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.

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.

The Parmer 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.

SEAOI Service Award

The SEAOI Service Award is given to individuals for outstanding contributions to SEAOI or to the profession of structural engineering in the State of Illinois. 

The SEAOI Service Award is given by SEAOI to a distinguished individual, whose involvement and career services in design, construction, education, or business related to structural engineering, have made a significant contribution to the advancement and the recognition of the role of structural engineers. The candidate must be active in his or her field or retired for not more than two years.

Outstanding Young Engineer Award

The Outstanding Young Engineer Award, is awarded to practicing structural engineer(s) aged 35 or younger (as of the date of the awards celebration) who is recognized by colleagues for their outstanding achievements in structural engineering.

SEAOI Excellence in Engagement Award 

The SEAOI Excellence in Engagement Award was established to recognize individuals striving to improve engagement of current and/or future structural engineers.  SEAOI is committed to improving engagement among our members and within the structural engineering community, and we wish to formally recognize others also committed to this pursuit.   

The Award, if presented, will be awarded to an individual or team in recognition of efforts to advance the profession by engaging current and/or future structural engineers within our industry. Nominations should consider a wide range of activities that demonstrate outstanding, exceptional, or innovative activities to engage current and/or future structural engineers throughout the industry to ensure that current and/or future structural engineering professionals have a positive experience with the profession. Examples include the creation of mentorship programs to offer career guidance and professional development opportunities, outstanding business practices to accommodate flexible work schedules and/or remote work opportunities, and internal or external training programs to ensure engineers are learning and growing in critical areas. 

To be considered for the award:

  • Individuals must be practicing structural engineer or have retired within the last two years.
  • Teams are defined as any joint endeavor or group operating collaboratively on a program or initiative within the structural engineering community and are not limited to formal organizational units. A significant portion of the team should be practicing structural engineers.

Award Recipients of 2024


  Paul J Gorski, PE, SE

  Senior Structural Engineer

  Associate - GRAEF


  David Horos, SE

  SEAOI President, 2015-2016

  NCSEA President, 2022 – 2023


  Dr. David Gustafson, PhD, PE


  Alex Sierienko, SE

  Senior Associate, SR+A


  Ann Sychterz, PhD, P.Eng

  Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, 

  University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


  Eric Wheeler, S.E.

  Vice President - Thornton Tomasetti

20 N. Wacker Dr., Suite 750
Chicago, IL  60606

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