Halil Ceylan 2024
The ASCE Transportation and Development Institute (T&DI) is pleased to announce Dr. Halil Ceylan, a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and an Endowed Professor of Iowa State University, as the 2023 recipient of the Robert Horonjeff Award. The award, named in honor of Robert Horonjeff, recognizes outstanding achievements in and contributions to the advancement of the field of air transportation engineering.  

Dr. Ceylan’s academic journey began with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Dokuz Eylul University in 1989. He furthered his education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), earning a Master of Science in Geotechnical Engineering in 1995 and completing his Ph.D. in Transportation Facilities/Pavement/Geotechnical Engineering in 2002. His innovative doctoral research at UIUC showcased the feasibility of using artificial intelligence (AI) techniques for analyzing and designing airfield pavement systems. This research contributed to the development of AI-based design tools. These tools enable practicing engineers to incorporate advanced finite element solutions into routine, practical designs more efficiently, significantly reducing the time required compared to traditional finite element programs. Additionally, during his Ph.D. studies at UIUC, Dr. Ceylan devoted considerable time to working at the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) National Airport Pavement Test Facility (NAPTF), located at the William J. Hughes Technical Center near Atlantic City, New Jersey. There, he was involved in the instrumentation and field data collection of static and dynamic sensor system data from the full-scale airport pavement test sections, accommodating the new generation of complex aircraft gear loadings.
Dr. Ceylan’s remarkable career in civil, transportation, and pavement engineering is truly admirable. He has exhibited exemplary leadership, achieved numerous accolades, and made significant contributions to the advancement of air transportation engineering. Dr. Ceylan is currently Pitt-Des Moines, Inc. Endowed Professor of Civil Engineering and the founding Director of the Program for Sustainable Pavement Engineering and Research (PROSPER) within the Institute for Transportation (InTrans) at Iowa State University (ISU) and a Distinguished Member of ASCE. Throughout his career, Dr. Ceylan has made outstanding research and education contributions for advancing pavement analysis and design, materials, and performance evaluations in air transportation and infrastructure engineering field. He has consistently demonstrated originality and interdisciplinary synthesis in his research to address critical science issues and national needs.

Dr. Ceylan has garnered a substantial number of nationally competitive awards from diverse funding sources, securing more than 135 research project grants with a total funding amount exceeding $25.2 million. His work in this domain - funded by the Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability (PEGASAS), FAA’s Center of Excellence for General Aviation and led by Dr. Ceylan - has been transformative and resulted in publishing two US patents and the creation of the world’s first electrically conductive concrete heated pavement test site at Des Moines International Airport in Iowa. This research is profoundly impactful, addressing the problem of snow- and ice-covered airfields leading to flight delays and cancellations during winter weather events. Dr. Ceylan’s groundbreaking research aims to keep airports, as well as other transportation infrastructure systems, safe, open, and accessible during such adverse weather conditions. Furthermore, the economic benefits of this technology surpass the associated costs, as substantiated by detailed data analysis shared through high-impact publications and presentations. Additionally, the team has plans to construct and assess heated pedestrian crosswalks and bus stop stations in the City of Iowa City, marking the first application of its kind for safe, pedestrian-friendly communities. 

Dr. Ceylan’s research on electrically conductive concrete heated pavement systems has recently gained recognition as both a High-Value Research project and an Innovation Initiative Focus Technology by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). This research has received extensive coverage from numerous national and international news media outlets. This widespread coverage and the level of attention directed toward Dr. Ceylan’s research, contributions, and achievements unequivocally attest to his substantial, high-impact role in advancing air transportation engineering in research, planning, design, and construction of air transportation facilities. In addition to these outstanding accomplishments, Dr. Ceylan has successfully established the Program for Sustainable Pavement Engineering and Research (PROSPER) under the Institute for Transportation (InTrans) at ISU, which synergistically integrates research, education, and technology transfer activities. He currently holds the position of Director of the PROSPER program and serves as the ISU Site Director for the FAA PEGASAS Center of Excellence, a role that demands significant dedication.

In a relatively short span, Dr. Ceylan has achieved remarkable and high-impact accomplishments at the national and international levels across all four pillars of academic success: research, teaching, service, and mentoring. Dr. Ceylan's research excellence is evident in his extensive publication record of over 420 peer-reviewed research articles, with approximately 90% of these publications co-authored with his current and former graduate students and postdoctoral research associates, reflecting his commitment to mentoring and collaboration. Dr. Ceylan’s work has been widely cited, showcasing the significant impact of his research in the airport technology field. He also serves as an Associate Editor or Editorial Board Member of nine national and international journals, including ASCE journals. Notably, he has supervised or co-supervised more than 80 doctoral and master’s students, postdoctoral research associates, and research staff at ISU. 

Dr. Ceylan initiated the ASCE T&DI Uncrewed Aerial Systems Committee under Emerging Technologies Council and became the Founding Chair. He has also served as Geo-Institute Pavements Committee (Chair), Highway Pavements Committee, Airfield Pavements Committee in ASCE, Committee on Modeling for the Design, Construction and Management of Geosystems, Committee on Rigid Pavement Design, Committee on Strength and Deformation Characteristics of Pavement Sections in Transportation Research Board (TRB) of National Research Council, American Concrete Institute (ACI), International Society for Concrete Pavements (ISCP), Transportation Engineering and Road Research Alliance (TERRA), United States University Council for Geotechnical Education and Research (USUCGER), Academy of Pavement Science and Engineering (APSE), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Additionally, he’s received more than 25 awards, including the 2022 Class of ASCE Distinguished Member, the 2022 University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award, the 2021 ASCE James Laurie Prize, ASCE Fellowship, the 2021 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association (CEEAA) Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the inaugural 2019 FAA PEGASAS Jimenez Faculty/Researcher Award, among several other highly competitive and significant accolades.

Dr. Ceylan has been an ASCE member since 1994.