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2011 Recipient

Tom SawyerTom Sawyer

Tom Sawyer is a senior editor at Engineering News-Record, which delivers news and analysis online, in print and at events and is published by the McGraw-Hill Companies.

He specializes in information technology and breaking news coverage. As technology editor, Tom is often on the leading edge of investigating construction industry technology. Recent cover stories include "Your Construction Technology Wish List," original research about technology wins and wishes and "Hot Linked Jobsites," a story that won a prestigious journalism award for Best Technical Article last year. He helped launch ENR FutureTech, an electronic newsletter and series of conferences last year.

Notable news events he has covered for ENR include the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City in 2001, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 as an embedded reporter with combat engineers and again for subsequent coverage of reconstruction, the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe in New Orleans, the earthquake in Haiti and the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan.

Having taught photography at a New York City high school for two years before joining ENR in 2000, Tom is one of ENR's most avid photo and video journalists. In his earlier career, he was a reporter for the Atlantic City Press, in Atlantic City, N.J. The son, brother and uncle of architects, Tom has been close to the design and construction industry all his life. He worked as a print boy, photographer and general assistant in his father's firm through his teen years. He worked as a construction laborer while in college at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill, N.C. Prior to moving to New York in 1988, he owned and operated a business in coastal North Carolina engaged in yacht management and making fiberglass dock furnishings for marinas.


Colleague's Quotes

"Tom, your selection honors our award!  Congratulations and thanks for all you contribute to the success of our industry."

James B. Porter, Jr., Chief Engineer and Vice President, Engineering & Operations, DuPont (retired)Keith Roe


"Tom Sawyer is a recognized champion of strong industry interactions and shared progress in delivering innovative solutions."

Jerry Gipson, Jr., Senior Director, Manufacturing & Engineering IT, The Dow Chemical Company


"Tom's passion for his work, his inquisitive nature, and his intelligent approach to the intricacies of construction technology is unparalleled. Tom demonstrates the kind of thought leadership we are proud to have at McGraw-Hill Construction, and he is as much at home speaking at industry events as mentoring young journalists back in the office. We are very proud that he is being recognized with the prestigious James B. Porter, Jr. Award for Technology Leadership."

Keith Fox, President, McGraw-Hill Construction


"Oliver Wendell Holmes observed that 'man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.' Tom is responsible for countless readers having their minds permanently enlarged. With clarity, alacrity, and relevance, his articles have provided us all with valuable information and knowledge on new approaches, technologies, materials, and equipment. The American writer Minna Antrim so accurately noted that "experience is a good teacher, but she sends in terrific bills." Tom has helped reduce everyone's bills – both owners and constructors – by sharing hard won experiences and new successes with the industry at large.  We all owe him a debt of gratitude for that."

Tom Hannigan, President, Zachry Nuclear


"Tom is a zealous champion for technology advancement in the capital projects industry. He is highly respected throughout the industry and embodies the spirit of the Porter Award with vision, leadership, and passion for technology advancement. This award is a well-deserved recognition for Tom's commitment to bring forward industry awareness of the benefits being achieved and opportunity for continued improvement from technology advancement."

Ray Topping, Director, Fiatech


"Tom Sawyer is a strong leader in supporting technology in the construction industry – he is way ahead of other reporters on this topic."

Steve Makredes, Director, Construction, Target


"Tom Sawyer has written extensively on construction-related technology topics and developments and through those articles, and the many references to Fiatech, has raised industry's awareness of Fiatech and its reputation."

Reginald Gagliardo, Senior Vice President, Burns and Roe


"Tom Sawyer is a quintessential ENR editor, equally proficient with his technical passion, construction¹s quickly changing technology landscape, and with breaking news coverage of earthquakes and hurricanes. He is as eager to unravel technological mysteries as to set out on an expedition to find lessons from disaster that could help prevent loss of life in the future. He is an amazing asset to our enterprise."

Janice Tuchman, ENR Editor-in-Chief

"Whether he's embedded with our troops in Iraq, covering the story of rebuilding in New Orleans, canvassing the ruins in Haiti or surveying the destruction in Japan, Tom has his boots on the ground keeping us all informed. This in turn accelerates the delivery of solutions and innovation in engineering and construction across the globe - providing a remarkable benefit to all of us. Thank you, Tom, for your determination and in-depth reporting and congratulation on this well-deserved recognition."

Nicole Testa Boston, Deputy Director, Fiatech


"Tom Sawyer is instrumental in portraying the implementation of technology in the construction industry from the perspective of the field worker."

Todd Sutton, Business Unit Manager, Zachry Construction Corporation


"Tom's knowledge of technology in the engineering and construction process helps ENR audiences stay ahead of industry trends and issues. He also provides key leadership for the ENR FutureTech events and with the expansion of ENR's award-winning technology coverage. He gives freely of his time to his colleagues, helping ENR editors improve their use of technology. These are just a few of the reasons he is highly respected in the industry for his tireless work. His colleagues are proud to see him selected for the James B. Porter Award by Fiatech."

Erin Joyce, ENR Managing Editor


"Tom Sawyer has been a long time champion of technology in the construction industry. Tom has been able to reach a diverse and broad audience of stakeholders in the industry, from owners and designers to contractors and suppliers, both informing them and increasing their understanding about a wide range of technology related topics, with objective and respected journalistic integrity."

Dr. Jorge Vanegas, Dean, College of Architecture, Texas A&M University