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Prof. Jim MacGregor -A True Giant of Concrete Design

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Dr. N. Subramanian
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:45 am    Post subject: Prof. Jim MacGregor -A True Giant of Concrete Design Reply with quote

In 2015 we lost one of the true giants of the concrete design
community. Prof. James K. MacGregor was a major contributor to concrete design codes in the US and Canada, and his influence spread around the world.  I failed to notice it. He is the author of the famous book "Reinforced Concrete: Mechanics and Design", which is in its 7th edition, running to more than 1000 pages and the authorship of 7th edition take over by his co-author from 6th edition, Prog. J.K.Wight.

Given below is the message written by Prof. Wight in Concrete International in April 2015.

It is hard to express in a few words all of the technical contributions he made and all of the good will he spread within our industry.
My first contact with Jim was during the ACI Convention in the Fall of 1974. I decided to visit my first technical committee meeting, so I stepped into the 426 meeting on shear. Jim was the committee chair and he graciously welcomed me into the meeting. They were having an intense discussion of a new shear strength design equation for concrete beams with low reinforcement ratios (sound familiar?). The meeting was so exciting and educational, that I was immediately sold on the importance of getting involved with the work of ACI technical committees. Years later when I chaired my first meeting of Committee 318, I said I was standing on the shoulders of giants in the concrete industry and I was envisioning Jim MacGregor as one of those giants.

Jim’s contributions to Committee 318 actually started when he was a graduate student at the University of Illinois, working for Professor Chet Siess. Chet was an active member of Committee 318 and he asked Jim to help with his preparation for upcoming committee meetings. During his technical committee work in the US and Canada, Jim was a tireless worker in leading free and open discussions, respecting the viewpoint of others, and convincingly developing broad technical consensus. He had an ability to assemble research results, blend it with practical lessons learned from practitioners, and present it in a balanced and coherent

The technical contributions Jim made to the structural engineering community in North America are too numerable to recount. I will try to list some of his major contributions and I apologize if I leave out something that should have been included.
1. He was a leader in the development of the Limit States Design Criteria in both the US and Canada. He worked on the development of both the phenomenon based strength reduction factors (φ-factors) used in the ACI Code, as well as the material based partial φ-factors used in the Canadian Design Code. In the mid-70s he gave the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering National Lecture Tour on “Safety and Limit States Design of Reinforced Concrete”.
2. He led in the development of design procedures for slender columns that were eventually included in both the ACI and Canadian Concrete Design Codes. I remember an ACI meeting where he lectured not just the 318 committee, but the full ACI membership on the derivation of moment-magnification factors and stiffness-based φ-factors that formed the basis of the slender column design provisions.
3. He served as Chair of key ACI technical committees as well as when I was Chair of 318-Sub E, he provided technical leadership in the development of the ACI Code design requirements for the use of Strut-and-Tie models.
4. The leadership he provided to ACI may pale in comparison to his contributions in Canada as Chair of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Committee for the Design of Concrete Structures and Chair of the CSA Committee on Structural Design for the National Building Code. He was regarded as “the voice of Canada” in all international associations dealing with reinforced concrete design regulations.
5. He served as ACI President in 1992-93; was made an Honorary Member in 2001; won several awards for his technical papers and leadership within ACI; was named a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering; and last but not least, a Distinguished University Professor at his beloved University of Alberta.
He was a great contributor to the technical knowledge embodied in the ACI and Canadian Concrete Design Codes, as well as a great colleague and friend to many of us. In his memory he would want us, each in our own way, to strive for excellence in our own fields, utilizing to the fullest the talents that God has given us.
James K. Wight
April 15, 2015

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