Remembering Charles Thorton

The construction industry has lost a powerful tycoon. I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of renowned structural engineer Charles Thornton. Charles was a visionary. Throughout his 60-year career, he played a pivotal role in the creation of some of the most famous buildings in the world, including Petronas Towers in Malaysia, Taipei 101 in Taiwan, and countless other iconic structures.

Charles was an inspiration and friend to many. BOB - WOULD YOU LIKE TO ADD ANY PERSONAL ANECDOTES/STORIES HERE? He dedicated his life to his profession after being inspired by his dad to become an engineer while growing up in the Bronx, New York. Charles earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Manhattan College and master’s and doctoral degrees from New York University, which propelled him forward on his journey to elevating the industry to new heights. He held various positions throughout his life, each more incredible than the next. Charles became a founding principal of Thorton Tomasetti, where he served as chairman and CEO until his retirement in 2004.

Like any true innovator, Charles focused not only on project work and constructing some of the planet’s first supertall towers but on investing in communities as well. The ACE Mentor Program of America is one of Charles’ great legacies. This free after-school program promotes workforce development for high school students by connecting them with experts from the design and construction industry. The initiative offers a range of exciting opportunities and plays a crucial role in bridging the skills gap. As this has been one of my long-term career goals as well, I commend Charles for his ability to implement crucial infrastructure for the youth who need it most.

All of the great work Charles facilitated did not go unnoticed. Charles was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Construction. He was named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Charles was also awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Civil Engineering, as well as the ASCE Outstanding Projects and Leaders Award. Along with his career partner Richard Tomasetti, he is the recipient of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal. What a track record!

I send my condolences to Charles’ family and all those lucky enough to have known him. He may be gone, but his impact will live on forever. BOB - ANYTHING PERSONAL TO ADD HERE?

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