ASCE has honored Glenn R. Bell, P.E., S.E., CP, F.SEI, Dist.M.ASCE, with the 2022 Presidents’ Award for his dedication to the safety of the public as evidenced through his work on the Cross U.S. failure database, the Florida condominium collapse, and service as president of SEI.
Bell was elected to the Society’s distinguished membership in 2021. He was the principal and structural engineer of record on hundreds of projects, from new ground-up buildings to existing buildings, and headed up hundreds of investigation, evaluation, and rehabilitation projects. He has passed on his technical knowledge in his teaching role at Tufts University, MIT, Tufts Gordon Institute of Technology, and as visiting scholar at the University of Bath, UK. In addition, he envisioned and is now conducting an online Career Series for SEI young engineering professionals.
In 2012, Bell developed a vision for the future of structural engineering, which he presented as the keynote address at SEI’s Structures Congress. In that address, he recognized the continued commoditization of civil and structural engineering through the offices of increasing complexity in the building codes, increasing automation of traditional tasks, and globalization allowing engineers in third world nations to compete effectively for services traditionally provided by U.S. engineering. He noted that these drivers were inevitable, but that commoditization was not, if engineers could look beyond traditional engineering to expand their role as thought leaders in the design/construction environment as well as politically. This address and the ideas it put forward played a significant role in shaping SEI’s current strategic plan.
He was named a 2019 Engineering News-Record Top 25 Newsmaker for spearheading the new Confidential Reporting on Seismic Safety–US (CROSS-US). In that same year, he organized the first-ever international conference, held in Dubai, in which ASCE and IStructE members exchanged best practices.
Bell is the past chief executive officer of Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger Inc., which he grew from a firm of 90 members and two offices to an internationally renowned, ENR top-500 consultancy with a staff of more than 600, located in offices in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
The ASCE Presidents’ Award commemorates the nation’s first president, who was a civil engineer and land surveyor. The award recognizes an ASCE’s member’s distinguished service to his or her country.