Dr. Youngsoo “Richard” Kim, Jimmy D. Clark Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering (CCEE) at North Carolina State University, is the thirty-fourth recipient of the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Extension. Kim gave his award lecture, titled “From Theory to Engineering Practice: A 30-Year Journey,” at the Larry K. Monteith Engineering Research Center on NC State’s Centennial Campus on Nov. 12.
The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Extension was established in 1981. It honors a College of Engineering faculty member who has demonstrated superiority in several areas of activity that relate to the NC State’s three-fold mission of teaching, research and extension. The annual award is supported by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company through the NC State Engineering Foundation to recognize scientific and educational achievements in fields of engineering. The recipient is given a $25,000 prize distributed over five years.
One of the world’s leading scholars on asphalt materials, Kim’s research has helped change industry standards for asphalt materials specifications, and he developed widely used predictive tests and models to show how asphalt pavements and materials will perform under varying traffic and climatic conditions. Kim’s work has influenced asphalt materials research worldwide and has been instrumental in developing safer, longer-lasting asphalt materials and structures.
His models, which are based on mechanistic principles, have advanced materials science while also being accepted by highway agencies and contractors as an effective way to test asphalt materials. His models are being implemented worldwide and are making a lasting impact. Several of Kim’s research projects have been funded by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program and the Federal Highway Administration, two of the most competitive funding sources in the field. These projects have provided new insight on forecasting what happens to asphalt over long-term use, and the results will have a direct effect on U.S. roads.
Kim’s research team also developed FlexMATTM and FlexPaveTM, computer programs used by more than 120 researchers worldwide. He is the editor of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ book Modeling of Asphalt Concrete, and he has spoken at numerous national and international settings, including over 100 invited/keynote speeches, and authored or co-authored over 300 papers.
He joined the NC State faculty in 1989 as an assistant professor in CCEE. He was named a Distinguished Professor in 2012 and the Jimmy D. Clark Distinguished University Professor in 2015. In his time at NC State, Kim has been well-regarded for his teaching and mentorship. He has served as chair or co-chair for 55 Ph.D. student committees. Sixteen of those students now hold faculty positions in the U.S., Korea, China, Taiwan, Iran and Lebanon. Kim’s teaching and mentoring contributions were recognized when he received the Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professor Award in 2012.
Beyond his work at NC State, Kim is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a Fellow of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology, which is similar to The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in the United States. He is also a member of the Transportation Research Board, the Association of Asphalt Paving Technology, the American Society of Testing and Materials, the Korean Scientists and Engineers Association and the International Society of Asphalt Pavements (ISAP). He is a board member of ISAP, as well as a member of the Federal Highway Administration Asphalt Mixture and Construction Expert Task Group and the Pavement Prevention Expert Task Group. Kim serves as the editor-in-chief for two international journals, the Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering and the International Journal of Highway Engineering, and is on the editorial boards for three other international journals.
He has received many honors and awards, including the Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award in 2015; the NC State Alumni Outstanding Research Award in 2014; the 1997, 2006 and 2009 Walter J. Emmons Best Paper Award from the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists; and the Alcoa Foundation Engineering Research Achievement Award in 1998. In 2016, Kim received the Changjiang Scholar Award, the highest academic award in China, and became one of the 11 inaugural members of the Research Leadership Academy at NC State.
Kim received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Seoul National University in 1980. He earned his master’s in 1985 and Ph.D. in 1988, both in civil engineering from Texas A&M University.
His research on asphalt materials and pavement — the country’s highest civil infrastructure investment — has made a lasting impact on the industry, which is often slow to change. His research, coupled with his excellence in mentoring and teaching, has earned him international respect. For these reasons, he is a deserving and excellent recipient of the R.J. Reynolds Award.
This post was originally published in College of Engineering News.