Jeff Needham has been inducted into the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) College of Fellows for his years of service and commitment to the tilt up industry spanning over three decades. He accepted this appointment during the Awards Gala of the 2017 Tilt-Up Convention and Expo in Miami on Friday evening, September 29.
The Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) College of Fellows honors the rich tradition of service to the Association on behalf of the industry. The College of Fellows cultivates awareness for the community of professionals dedicated to the mission of the Association, and elevates the service of its members to the entire industry. Fellows establish this service through their organization's commitment to membership and participation and are elected to fellowship by a jury of their peers.
Fellowship is one of the highest honors the TCA can bestow upon an individual. Elevation to Fellowship not only recognizes professional achievement but also significant contributions to the industry and the Association.
Jeff is a native of Kansas and grew up in a construction and engineering family. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1975 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering. In 1981, he received a Masters of Civil Engineering, also from Kansas. He currently holds professional and/or structural engineering licenses in ten states.
Jeff's early professional career was spent in the pre-engineered building industry as a staff engineer, product development engineer, and sales engineer. It was in these capacities he first encountered tilt-up construction. In his role as a product and sales engineer, he was often asked to "make metal buildings work with concrete walls". While working in California in 1984, his interest in tilt-up led him to a meeting with Dave Kelly of Burke. This meeting was pivotal in his career and cemented a commitment to tilt-up design and construction.
Jeff collaborated with Dave Kelly to develop a hybrid, metal-building and tilt-up wall, building-system marketed under the name Tilt-Plus. They jointly held a patent for a connection system for tilt-up walls to metal roofs, that is now commonly used in the industry. He became a Charter member of the TCA at this time.
Jeff formed Needham and Associates in 1989 and based much of his practice on tilt-up construction. The company grew steadily performing structural design and has been a leading innovator in structural engineering. In 1998, the firm began development of an in-house, early version of BIM software for the steel joist and deck industry. This was later expanded into structural steel. More recently DBS was formed as a unique, engineer driven, design-build steel framing solution for complex projects based on a pre-engineered delivery model.
He is active in promoting tilt-up through the Midwest and developed tilt-up construction in a number of nontraditional markets such as Kansas, Missouri, and Indiana. His firm introduced tilt-up to several major, national, retail developers as their preferred method of wall construction.
Jeff was a founding member of the Structural Engineers of Kansas and Missouri in 2001. He led the TCA Joplin Home Depot task force in 2011, which documented the good performance of tilt-up walls in a destructive F-5 tornado. He was the recipient of the David Kelly Distinguished Engineer Award in 2012 for this work. Most recently, Jeff has been active in the advancement of composite construction in tilt-up walls and the research and development of composite connection products.
He continues to manage Needham DBS and remains committed to the advancement of the tilt-up construction method. Under Jeff's leadership, Needham DBS has trained the next generation of innovative structural engineers that appreciate the benefits of tilt-up construction and make tilt-up a major part of the business.