Michigan Tech Professor Named Distinguished Educator by Concrete Institute

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

Tess Ahlborn has received the 2010 Distinguished Educator Award from the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI).

The award recognizes educators who have made significant contributions to the educational mission of the precast concrete structures industry.

Ahlborn, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, teaches concrete design classes at both the undergraduate and graduate level and has contributed substantially to improvements to the course work in her 15 years at Michigan Technological University. She organizes annual plant trips with her students to visit precast concrete facilities and promotes student membership in the PCI. In addition, she has advised more than 25 master’s and PhD graduates who completed projects related to precast/prestressed concrete.

As director of the Center for Structural Durability with the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute, Ahlborn researches structural concrete materials and applications related to prestressed concrete bridges. She revitalized the prestressed concrete research program with the Michigan Department of Transportation and worked extensively with MDOT to improve the durablility of highway structures.

Ahlborn leads a team of two dozen Michigan Tech researchers working to identify the best remote-sensing technologies for monitoring the health of bridges. The $2.8 million project is supported by the US Department of Transportation, MDOT, the Center for Automotive Research, and Michigan Tech.

A member of the PCI Research & Development Council for nearly a decade, Ahlborn has been active as a PCI Convention session moderator and reviewer for conference proceedings. She initiated the Women in PCI event, an annual affair since 2005. More than 70 professional women have used this networking opportunity to establish relationships that benefit the precast concrete structures industry.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.