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Charles H. Thornton, Ph.D., P.E.

Charles H. ThorntonCharles H. Thornton is Chairman of the Thornton-Tomasetti Group, Inc., a 360-person organization providing design and engineering services for commercial, institutional and industrial building projects.  The organization consists of Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers, the structural engineering division; LZA Technology, the investigations division; and LZA Associates, the engineering/architectural division.

Dr. Thornton has overall responsibility for the engineering, design and research and development activities and policies of the firm.  His thirty-eight years experience with the firm has included involvement in the design and construction of billions of dollars worth of projects in the U.S. and overseas, ranging from hospitals, arenas and high-rise buildings, to airports, transportation facilities and special projects.  A few representative projects include the two towers (tallest on the world) of Kuala Lumpur City Center in Malaysia, the $450,000,000 United Airlines Terminal at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, and the 65-story, One Liberty Place in Philadelphia, PA.

Dr. Thornton holds a B.S.C.E. degree from Manhattan College, and M.S.C.E. and Ph.D. degrees from New York University.  He is presently on the visiting faculty at Princeton University and Manhattan College.  He has taught at Pratt Institute and Cooper Union in the past.  Dr. Thornton is also Chairman and Founder of ACE Mentor Program, which offers guidance and training to 180 New York City inner city high school students in Architecture, Construction and Engineering.  In addition, Dr. Thornton is President of The Salvadori Center, which educates over 2,000 New York Middle school students in Mathematics and Science using architectural and engineering principles.  Dr. Thornton is on the Board of Trustees of Manhattan College, the Applied Technology Council (ATC), and the Building Seismic Safety Council, and is active in FEMA’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Task Force.

Dr. Thornton has provided expert witness testimony for many clients and litigation and is a recognized expert in the are of collapse and structural failure analysis.  In 1978 Dr. Thornton led the engineering team investigation of the causes of the collapse of the Hartford Coliseum Space Truss Roof in Hartford, Connecticut, and the Cooling Tower Scaffold at Pleasants Power Station, West Virginia.  In 1978 Dr. Thronton directed the investigation of the collapse of the New York State Thruway Schoharie Bridge.  In 1995 Dr. Thornton participated on the FEMA Building Performance Assessment Team for the investigation of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City.

Dr. Thronton’s work on high profile and innovative projects has been recognized by countless professional associations.  Dr. Thornton was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), on eof the highest professional distinctions conferred on engineers.  He received the American Society of Civil Engineers “Civil Engineer of the Year Award” in 1990.  Dr. Thornton was also twice recognized in “Engineering News Record’s” “Those Who Made Marks”; once in 1978 for “leading an investigative team and reporting bluntly” on the Hartford Coliseum roof collapse; and again in 1986 for convincing authorities to allow innovative exposed steel design for the award-winning United Airlines Terminal at O’Hare Airport in Chicago.