W. Samuel Easterling, Ph.D., P.E., F.SEI, Dist.M.ASCE, the James L. and Katherine S. Melsa dean of engineering at Iowa State University, has been honored with inclusion by ASCE in its 2023 class of distinguished members for his transformational contributions to the design of steel floor diaphragms, composite slabs, and shear connection in composite members, his leadership in advancing engineering practice as well as undergraduate and graduate education, and his mentoring of young engineers.

He is internationally recognized for his research and professional contributions in the field of composite steel-concrete construction. Steel-concrete floor systems are used in steel-framed buildings throughout the world, and Easterling has conducted major research projects that have improved the safety and economy of composite steel floor deck systems, composite joists, and composite beams. As steel deck profiles began to change, he was one of the earliest to study and identify vulnerabilities associated with the placement of shear studs and its effects on the strength and ductility of the beams.

Easterling subsequently led international working groups to quantify the influence of deck profiles and shear stud replacement, which resulted in changes to design standards for composite beams. His expertise carried through to his many scholarly publications on composite construction, including several design guidelines now widely used by practitioners. Additionally, he has given presentations for many lecture series for the American Institute of Steel Construction.

During his 10 years as head of the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech, the strength of the department increased continually, along with its yearly national ranking. Throughout his career, Easterling has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses on structural analysis, steel design, timber structures, and seismic design. In addition to serving on a host of graduate theses committees, he has supervised 50-plus master’s students and six doctoral dissertations.

Easterling served as chair of ASCE’s Committee on Composite Construction, chair of the Department Heads Coordinating Council, and chair of the Task Committee to Resolve ASCE Certification and/or Certificate Options. He is active with the American Institute of Steel Construction and currently serves as vice chair of the AISC Task Committee 5–Composite Construction and as a member of the Committee on Specifications. Within the American Iron and Steel Institute he is chair of Subcommittee 34–Composite Design, and for ASEE he serves as chair of the Engineering Deans Council Public Policy Committee.

He was also active in university governance at Virginia Tech, serving as president of the Faculty Senate and was faculty representative to the university’s Board of Visitors. Prior to joining Iowa State, Easterling was a Virginia Tech faculty member for 32 years. He remains a mentor without peer.