Dr. James M. Fisher is MBMA’s 2024 Ellifritt Award Winner

Date:February 27, 2024
Contact:Tony Bouquot, General Manager

The Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) presented Dr. James Fisher with the 2024 Dr. Duane S. Ellifritt Research Award. Named after MBMA’s original director of research and engineering, this honor is given to a researcher annually for contributions to the advancement of metal building systems. Dr. Fisher accepted the award at the 2024 MBMA Research Symposium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Dr. Fisher has contributed extensively to the advancement of metal building systems,” said Lee Shoemaker, Ph.D., PE, MBMA’s current director of research and engineering. “He conducted various research studies for MBMA which improved the design practice. His MBMA sponsored work that led to AISC’s Design Guide on Serviceability Considerations for Low Rise Buildings is still the seminal reference for allowable deflections and sidesway drift for steel buildings.”

Dr. Fisher assisted with the development of the first certification program for metal building manufacturers which helped elevate the industry. This eventually became a requirement for membership in MBMA which continues today with the International Accreditation Services AC472 program for metal building manufacturers.

Dr. Fisher has not only been an asset to the metal building industry through his research and professional involvement, but he has garnered many awards from AISC in recognition of his contributions to the steel industry. He served as the Chairman of the AISC Specification Committee from 2003 until 2010 and he currently serves as the Consulting Engineer to the Steel Joist Institute. Dr. Fisher received the 1984 T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award presented by AISC. In 2000 he received AISC's Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his exceptional contribution to the steel construction industry. He received AISC's highest award, the J. Lloyd Kimbrough Award in 2006.

The MBMA research award is named for Dr. Ellifritt, who was teaching at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, in 1975 when he was appointed as the first director of research and engineering for the MBMA. He served in that role until 1985 when he returned to teaching as a professor of civil engineering at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he taught until his retirement in 2010. Throughout his life, artistic expression was evidenced through his prolific works in various mediums. He always traveled with his sketch book and would transform his favorite drawings into intricate watercolors. His home and art studio were wall-to-wall with original vignettes of his observations of life, especially his interest in bridges and other structures. His most famous work, the Steel Structure, is a teaching sculpture that stands on the Gainesville campus and has been reproduced nearly 200 times at colleges and universities around the world. He passed away in 2018.The Ellifritt family was very honored that MBMA has chosen to recognize him in this way.

2024 Ellifrit Award Presentation
Dr. Fisher, right, accepting the 2024 Ellifrit Award from Dr. Lee Shoemaker, MBMA's current director of research and engineering