Ward R. Malisch spent most of his 50-year career addressing issues related to concrete construction, specifically to problems that concrete contractors deal with daily. His civil engineering training began at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he received his BS, MS, and PhD in 1961, 1963, and 1966, respectively. During his time at Illinois he also carried out research on concrete durability and taught courses on plain concrete. Following that, he taught courses in concrete construction at the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) where he received several awards for outstanding teaching. During his time there he took a leave of absence to work in quality control for the prime contractor building Missouri’s first nuclear power plant. This experience spurred his interest in how specification requirements and tolerances affected contractors’ abilities to build both simple and complex structures.
Malisch was able to reach the construction industry more directly when he joined the staff of the World of Concrete seminar program and later became editor of Concrete Construction magazine. He was then able to teach at a national level by further developing a seminar program and editorial content that featured how-to-do-it information on concrete technology, with an emphasis on contractor-related topics. During his tenure with the magazine, he began answering questions on a telephone hotline service offered by the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), and gave advice on problems related to unrealistic concrete tolerances, inadequate knowledge about plastic concrete properties, ambiguous specifications, and a wide range of other construction-related topics.
In subsequent years, Malisch served as director of engineering and later as senior managing director at the American Concrete Institute. There, while supervising the engineering, marketing, and education departments, and serving as publisher of Concrete International magazine, he also interacted with other concrete-related organizations, serving on the Research, Engineering, and Standards Committee of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association and on the ASCC Board of Directors. Along with the ACI Strategic Development Council, ASCC, and Construction Technology Laboratories, he helped to organize an Inter-Industry Working Group on Concrete Floor Issues that brought together leaders from several construction and flooring industry groups. One outcome of this group’s activity was publication of ACI 302.2R-06, “Guide for Concrete Slabs that Receive Moisture-Sensitive Flooring Materials.”
Upon retirement from ACI in 2008, he was named technical director of ASCC. He was active again in forming an Inter-Industry Working Group on Reducing the Cost of Tolerance Compatibility Problems along with eight other co-sponsoring groups. He later served as principal investigator on two construction related research projects dealing with contractor-related problems.
Dr. Malisch’s awards include:
• 1986— Elected Fellow of the American Concrete Institute
• 2004— Arthur Y. Moy Award, ACI Greater Michigan Chapter
• 2006— Silver Hard Hat Award, highest award given by the Construction Writers Association
• 2008— Richard D. Gaynor Award, Highest technical award given by the National Ready-Mixed Concrete Association
• 2009—One of Concrete Construction magazine’s Most Influential People
• 2010— Arthur R. Anderson Medal, ACI, given for outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge of concrete as a construction material
• 2011— ACI Construction Award, given to the author of any paper of outstanding merit on concrete construction practice
• 2011— ASCC Lifetime Achievement Award, ASCC’s highest honor, acknowledging recipients for their body of work within the industry and their service to ASCC
• 2013— ACI Honorary member, given to a person of eminence in the field of the Institute’s interest or one who has performed extraordinary meritorious service to the Institute
• 2019—Roger H. Corbetta Concrete Construction Award, ACI, given to an individual that has made significant contributions to progress in methods of concrete construction.
For his dedication to the concrete construction industry, this Special Publication is a tribute to his work and is sponsored by the ACI Construction Liaison Committee. Sixteen presentations, distributed in four sessions named “Ward R. Malisch Concrete Construction Symposium,” were given at the 2017 ACI Fall Convention in Anaheim, CA. The quality of the presentations was highlighted by the participation of four former presidents of ACI: David Darwin, Terry Holland, Ken Hover and Mike Schneider.
The nine manuscripts presented in this Special Publication are significant in that each paper represents authors that have been previously published in ACI. Thanks are extended to the many ACI members who reviewed the manuscripts and provided helpful technical and editorial comments which enhanced the authors’ papers.
This Special Publication is but one small token of appreciation and gratitude to the more than 50-year service of Ward R. Malisch to concrete construction. He has been a source of inspiration to many as well as an example of honesty, integrity, and dedication. He has built the foundation for others to build upon in serving the concrete construction industry.