The International Code Council honored several well-known industry experts for contributions to building safety during its 2011 Annual Conference in November in Phoenix. Tim Ward, recently retired Division Manager and Building Official for Oak Ridge, Tenn., earned the Bobby J. Fowler Award. Alan Boswell, Chief Building Official for Tuscaloosa, Ala., received the Gerald H. Jones Code Official of the Year Award. J. Kendall “Ken” Kraus, Los Angeles Fire Department, retired, was honored with the Fire Service Award. Tony Falcone, Chief Building Officer with Access One and the Santa Cruz County Planning Department, was presented with the Community Service Award. Ron Nickson, Vice President of Building Codes for the National Multi Housing Council, accepted the Affiliate Award.
Ward was presented with the Bobby J. Fowler Award, which honors the memory of the first chairman of the Code Council Board of Directors. The award is given to an individual whose contributions to the building safety and fire prevention industry advance the Council’s goals in achieving a safer and more sustainable built environment. Particular emphasis is placed on the recipient’s focus beyond local or regional concerns to issues and activities that span the globe.
“I am so honored that I almost can’t find words to express the gratitude I have for this award,” says Ward, who knew the late Bobby Fowler. “It has been my privilege to know Tim for many years,” said ICC Board of Directors Immediate Past President Jimmy Brothers. “He is certainly a role model for all of us.”
First appointed to the World Organization of Building Officials in 2002, Ward recently was elected vice-president after nearly a decade of drawing together the support of many individuals and organizations that believe and promote safety in the built environment universally. Called a visionary by his peers, Ward’s ideas set the standards for leadership and innovation.
Ward has served as President of the Tennessee Building Officials Association and President of the East Tennessee Chapter of ICC. He was the Tennessee Code Official of the Year twice, 1990 and 1992. He holds commendations from three state governors for his active involvement in promoting building safety throughout Tennessee, and state certification Number 1 for helping the Tennessee Municipal League and the state legislature pass a law requiring mandatory building and fire inspector certification.
Boswell received the Gerald H. Jones Code Official of the Year Award, presented to an individual whose contribution to the code enforcement profession is meritorious. The individual must demonstrate professional abilities and be recognized as an example for all members of the code enforcement profession.
Boswell’s leadership as Chief Building Official on a day-to-day basis is outstanding and alone would merit recognition for service, said Kimberly McMurray, AIA, West Alabama AIA Disaster Coordinator. But she recommended him for the honor “for the manner in which Alan handled the response to the citizens of Tuscaloosa, directing of his staff and pulling together the hundreds of professional volunteers during the aftermath of the April 27 tornado in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alan's leadership was exceptional.”
“We’ve had a real tough year back in my jurisdiction, and I know a lot of other jurisdictions have also,” Boswell says. “I know what you’re going through and my heart goes out to you. The task has only begun, but we will come back; we will be better, bigger and stronger.
“We’re not only in the code enforcement business, we’re in the people business,” Boswell continued. “I learned a long time ago, if we learn to listen to the people around us, and the people that we work for—our citizens, the public—they will tell us how they want us to do business with them. And when we do that, we’ll all be successful. I am very honored and humbled to receive this award.”
Kraus received the International Code Council Fire Service Award, which is bestowed to an individual for service, professional abilities and leadership that are exemplary in the development of the International Fire Code, and one who has served as an example to all fire prevention and fire protection professionals.
“His technical ability has assisted him in his participation in the code development process,” says Daryl K. James, an ICC Member and retired Vista, Calif., Fire Marshal, who nominated Kraus. “But more important is his ability to bring people together and motivate them to work toward a common goal.
“He believes that it does not matter whether a person is a building official or a fire official,” James says. “Ken believes that as ‘code officials,’ we all have the same goal: to create a safer built environment for future generations.”
Recalling his early interactions with the Code Council, Kraus said, “My experience with ICC goes back to the 1999 final code draft hearings in Costa Mesa. I drove three-and-a-half hours back and forth each day. And, if you remember, some of those hearings went on to 11 o’clock at night. So that was my indoctrination.”
The Code Council Community Service Award, which recognizes meritorious service that promotes public health, safety and welfare above and beyond normal expectations, was presented to Falcone.
Renee Meriaux, President of the Ventura, Calif., ICC Chapter, said she nominated Falcone for sharing the knowledge he garnered as a 27-year Building Official. That included developing an Elementary School Outreach program six years ago to teach students about the important role that Building and Safety Professionals play in protecting the health, life and safety of everyone.
After telling the students how police and fire professionals protect us every day, he shows them how Building and Safety professionals work proactively to prevent problems using safety features to which we have grown accustomed. Falcone also shows the children how they, too, can help their parents keep their homes and pools safe.
“This honor is about the children,” Falcone says. “What’s interesting is when you ask our elementary school kids what a policeman does or what a fireman does, they’re really sharp and they’re quick with the answers. But when you ask them about a building inspector or building professional, it’s like looking at a deer in the headlights.
“That’s when I really knew that this is something we need to focus on,” Falcone continues. “I think we do need to put some energy toward our public outreach and our kids. Imagine a new generation growing up knowing that we truly are quiet heroes out there, protecting their lives every day.”
The International Code Council Affiliate Award was presented to Nickson. The award honors John Fies, Wilbur H. Lind and Alton Riddick, who demonstrated unselfish service to the original model code organizations.
Nickson was recognized as a building industry professional who consistently demonstrates the qualities of integrity, professionalism and dedication through service to the profession, and whose personal standards represent the spirit of public service to the development of codes and standards in the interest of public safety. His principal professional responsibility is representing multifamily housing in the model building code development process.
“In my job, I work with several code development organizations, and some of the other organizations are a little frustrating in a sense because, if you’re not a member of a committee, you have a difficult time finding out what’s going on,” Nickson said. “That’s not true with the ICC process. Any person that wants to can submit a code change, any person that wants to can get a copy of all those comments and proposals, and any person that wants can come and testify for and against that code change can do so.
“But the most important part of the entire process is the final vote that’s taken by the Code Official. That doesn’t happen anywhere else,” Nickson continued. “That’s the guy that’s in the field that has to live with what happens and what goes into the code.”
During his more than 30 years in the industry, he has worked extensively with each of the model building code organizations, and served on several technical standards writing committees, including the ICC Code Development Review Ad Hoc Committee and the 2011 Sustainable/Energy Code Action Committee.
Nickson also has organized the annual Bob Fowler Motorcycle Ride at ICC’s Annual Conference, which marked its eighth anniversary this year. Beginning this year, proceeds from the motorcycle ride will be donated to the ICC Foundation Code of Honor Scholarship Fund.
Previously, Nickson was Director of the Energy and Home Environment Department at the National Association of Home Builders and was a residential builder in Northern Virginia. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University.
The International Code Council is a member-focused association dedicated to helping the building safety community and construction industry provide safe and sustainable construction through the development of codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process. Most U.S. communities and many global markets choose the International Codes.