History of the IAF


In 1985, the ADSC was planning the first Faculty Workshop—to “Educate the Educators."  This idea had been promoted by Dr. Fred Kulhawy, a noted Drilled Shaft Academic.  Fred argued that, until the teachers understood the subject, we would continue to get new practitioners who were unaware of the advantages of drilled shaft construction.

As the ADSC raised funds for the Workshop, Cliff Murphy of Drilling Services Inc., a Missouri contractor, suggested we set our sights higher and create an independent, tax-free fund for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Drilled Shaft Industry. Industry leaders were brought together by Stan Case (Case Pacific), then-President of the ADSC, and the idea was born to create an endowment fund which would not only host the Faculty Workshop, but also fund scholarships and research.  Cliff Murphy stepped up and pledged the first $10,000 to get the ball rolling.

This sequence of events represented remarkable outside-the-box thinking from an organization which until that time had done very little in terms of promotion.

Phase I: Faculty Workshop

That 1987 Faculty Workshop was to be a $150,000 - $200,000 effort. Bill Murphy, of Case International, led a team of committed individuals who raised over $202,000 at the first meeting in 1986. Other Industry leaders who worked tirelessly to get the IAF started included Jene Hayes, Don Morin, Bill Guinn and Bob Melcher. Stan Case chaired the Steering Committee and he appointed Alan Macnab as Workshop Chair and hired John Turner, one of Kulhawy’s doctoral students, to coordinate the event.

Sixty professors from the best graduate schools in the nation assembled at Pingree Park in Colorado.  The five-day event was hosted by Caissons, Inc. and had a teaching faculty that could only be described now as the “rock stars” of the academic and practicing engineering world of deep foundations:  Dr. Ralph Peck, Dr. Fred Kulhawy, Dr. Michael O’Neill, Dr. Lymon Reese, Bob Thompson, and Dr. Fu Hua Chen were but a few of the dignitaries.  Many of the attendees from that first workshop are still teaching today, utilizing materials they acquired at the workshop.

Phase II: Scholarships

Following on the success of the workshop, the IAF awarded its first scholarships in 1988.  Four graduate students were provided assistance in defraying the cost of their tuition.  At that time, it was decided to bring the students to a national meeting of the ADSC so that students and ADSC members could “bond." Bringing the scholars to our meetings appears, in hindsight, to be one of the most impactful parts of the program.

Since 1988, the IAF has recognized a number of Industry leaders by naming Scholarships after them.  Most were endowed by their families or their regional ADSC chapter.  Today we have 17 scholarships.  Visit our scholarship page to see how our awardees have gone on to hold influential positions in government, design and academia.

The IAF has benefitted greatly from the relentless fundraising efforts of the ADSC Women’s Association who every year step up and help fund this program.

Phase III: Research

The IAF funded its first research proposal in 1991, a modest $8,000 effort.  Since then the IAF has supported research with funding, contributions-in-kind and coordination in excess of $5,000,000. Notable research projects include freefall concrete, SE chapter load tests, and various aspects of anchors in soils and rock.

Vectors of Growth

As the ADSC grew, the Industry Advancement Fund has grown as well. The ADSC officially expanded to include anchored earth retention in the 1990s, and micropiles in the early part of this century. So we now fund research on all these products, and our balance has risen to approximately $1,400,000. The IAF has continued to fund ADSC Faculty Workshops, with fund-raising spearheaded by past-president Bruce Long. The fourth Faculty Workshop took place in June 2016, and the workshop’s curriculum has grown to cover anchored earth retention and micropiles, as well as drilled shafts. 


The IAF is recognized as a 501c(3) not-for-profit organization that is permitted to raise tax-deductible funds for the advancement of the Industry.  It is a truly remarkable success story. Please consider playing your part by contributing to the IAF.

© 2016 by ADSC Industry Advancement Fund. 

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