Charles H. Thornton
September 9, 2008
Ask professionals from the architecture, construction, and engineering fields what their number one industry concern is, and you will hear a common response–a looming shortage of qualified workers. Enter Charles H. Thornton, Ph.D., P.E., founder of the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering (ACE) Mentor Program, which introduces high school students—the nation's future workforce—to careers in the building arts and sciences. Students are paired with professional mentors to work on real design challenges and then present their findings at the end of the school year. Since 1993, more than 40,000 inner-city high school students in more than 105 U.S. cities have participated in the program. To date, ACE has also awarded more than $6 million in college scholarships encouraging students to pursue careers in the built environment.
To recognize Thornton's work with the ACE Mentor Program, the National Building Museum presented him with the seventh Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology. Following the award ceremony, Thornton gave a presentation about founding the ACE Mentor program. Norbert W. Young, Jr., FAIA, president of McGraw-Hill Construction, Peter J. Davoren, president and chief executive officer of Turner Construction Company, and Jon Pickard, AIA, co-founder and principal of Pickard Chilton, later joined Thornton for a discussion on the future of the building industry.
The National Building Museum's Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology recognizes an invention, an innovative methodology, or exceptional leadership by an individual or team of individuals in construction technology. The Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology is generously sponsored by Turner Construction Company.