Janice L. Tuchman

The CII Executive Committee has selected Janice L. Tuchman as the twenty-eighth recipient of the Carroll H. Dunn Award of Excellence.

For the past 13 years, Janice (Jan) Lyn Tuchman has served as Editor-in-Chief at Engineering News-Record (ENR), the magazine the industry depends on for weekly news, long-term trend analysis, and in-depth features on important events and accomplishments in construction. For most industry leaders, Jan is something of a fixture—ever present at the important conferences and meetings, always involved in the vanguard initiatives—reliably making sense of the rapid change and evolving challenges faced by executives and project professionals alike. The focused and forward-looking content she produces with her team, week after week, reflects her long career at ENR and her ascent to its editorship.

As the daughter of an architect, Jan grew up visiting construction sites, working in her father’s office, and reading Architectural Record (AR) and ENR—the two magazines her family regularly had in the house. Born in Akron, Ohio, Jan’s parents Joseph Tuchman, a founder of T•C Architects, and Evelyn Tuchman, a professional piano teacher, encouraged her to pursue her interests—including her natural love of architecture and the arts. While inspired by her mother’s back-to-back baby grand pianos in the living room and her father’s talent for watercolors, Jan’s talent from an early age was writing. When she was assigned to the seventh-grade class that produced the junior high school newspaper, she knew that journalism was for her. By the time she was a senior in high school, she was the co-editor of the school’s paper.

After graduating in 1968, Jan went to the University of Colorado in Boulder, majoring in journalism and—because her interest in architecture and construction had never waned—minoring in architecture. After discussing her idea to be an architectural magazine writer with the dean of the architecture school in an early advising session, she was assigned to the same design class required for engineers. After laboriously constructing a scale model of a geodesic dome for a class project, Jan was ever more intrigued with writing about construction, architecture, and engineering. By the time she graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in 1972, she had decided to stay on at the university to go for a master’s degree, again in journalism. Starting in her sophomore year, she worked part-time and then full-time at a small alternative paper called The Colorado Daily, where she covered the city planning commission and new research at the scientific labs in the area. Along with her academic training, this experience at a small newspaper where staffers got a chance to do everything prepared her for what would become a lifelong relationship with ENR.

After finishing her master’s degree in 1975, Jan reconnected with Engineering News-Record. She had applied for a job at Architectural Record while contemplating graduate school, and the AR editors at the time suggested that their colleagues at sister publication ENR might like her newspaper experience. She was hired at ENR as an assistant editor in 1976, working first in the buildings department, writing about construction methods and new structural systems. The following year, as part of the magazine’s commitment to having informed reporters, her managing editor sent her on a press tour of a Bethlehem Steel plant and research center. As it happened, Joseph Rosta, a journalist who would later become her husband, had also been sent by his editors at Metal Center News to take the same tour. The two hit it off immediately and were married the following year. Based in New York City and immersed in thriving careers, the two welcomed their daughter Celia Tuchman-Rosta into the world in 1983.

Jan’s next assignment at ENR was as an associate editor covering energy and environmental issues. In this position, she learned about the technical and political intricacies of these components of our national infrastructure system. Her depth of knowledge and interest in these areas is still evident in the comprehensive coverage ENR gives them today. In 1985, she reported and wrote ENR’s on-the-scene coverage of the devastating Mexico City earthquake, leading to a career-long passion for sharing the lessons that can be learned from disaster. Her next major post at ENR was as a managing senior editor, in charge of a group of technical writers, managing editors, and executive editors. In the early 1990s, she became managing editor, and then, in April of 2001, rose to the position she holds today, taking charge of the entire magazine. She notes that the job has taken her around the world, writing about amazing construction projects in locales such as Paris, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, and Beijing.

For her, the job of editor-in-chief is a twofold sacred trust: to keep news and data flowing to help keep the industry vital and evergreen; and to keep the flame of ENR—a pioneer of business-to-business journalism published since 1874—burning brightly. Keeping both commitments requires a tremendous sensitivity to change. Indeed, in this role, the challenge of keeping up with the pace of change in the industry is matched only by that of keeping up with new developments in publishing. In this regard, Jan helped manage ENR’s conversion to desktop publishing, guided the launch of its website, and advocated for its mobile news app and its current tablet-based app. To keep the industry informed, Jan keeps the magazine focused on current market challenges and opportunities, while staying alert to emerging trends and breakthroughs. In 2012, she oversaw the launch of ENR’s 10 regional editions, to respond to readers’ calls for more news about their own diverse and complex markets. The ENR enterprise is now on multiple platforms, offering print, electronic, and in-person content. As for larger trends and longer-term challenges, she sees a role for ENR in helping industry professionals understand and take advantage of the increasingly global nature of construction work. A recent point of focus has been on the shift in the energy market—specifically, the nation’s natural gas boom—that is transforming the U.S. from net importer to net exporter of energy. In her view, this new gas economy is spurring a resurgence in both infrastructure and manufacturing. Jan also looks optimistically ahead at the advance of technology for construction, citing the evolution of technology applications for design and construction. A recent ENR cover story reported on how 4D Building Information Modeling is transforming safety by incorporating schedule into the BIM simulation process to identify potentially unsafe site conditions. She is also heartened by the growth of programs to attract young people to the construction crafts and professions, being particularly excited by the national expansion of the Go Build! program initiated in Alabama. As part of her commitment to recruiting young people into construction, she led a federally funded project to custom-publish a series of magazines for high school students about high-growth industries such as construction. The program, called In Demand, published a million of copies of each issue for distribution in every U.S. high school. Jan also keeps up with developments in sustainability, research, productivity, advanced materials, and equipment.

Jan has earned a number of awards and honors over the years. In early 2014, she was honored with the Beavers Service and Supply Award. In 2011, she was invited to join the National Academy of Construction, and in 2010, she won an award for journalism from the Society of Military Engineers, North Virginia Post. In 2009, she was inducted into the Construction Writers Association Hall of Fame, and was selected as a winner of the Champion Award by the Women Builders Council of New York City. In 2002, she became the sixth woman to be elected a member of the Moles, a prestigious heavy-industry organization. The same year, she was named Woman of the Year by the Los Angeles chapter of the Women’s Transportation Society, and was given a career achievement award from Professional Women in Construction. She has also won McGraw-Hill Corporate Achievement Awards for Information Technology and for Editorial Excellence.

In addition to her work at ENR—which she plans to continue for many years to come—Jan is an active member of several industry organizations. She belongs to the National Research Council’s Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment, the Industry Leaders Council of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Industry Advisory Committee of the Department of Civil Engineering at Columbia University. She is a trustee of the Society for Marketing Professional Services Foundation. She is also involved in KIVA, a not-for-profit organization that makes micro-loans to underserved entrepreneurs in 70 countries. Jan targets her loans to women in construction, who perform a range of work, from installing indoor plumbing systems to constructing entire buildings.

In appreciation of her generative spirit, her desire to understand problems and identify solutions, and, most of all, her lifelong commitment to the health and growth of the industry, CII takes the greatest pleasure in naming Janice Lyn Tuchman as the winner of the 2014 Carroll H. Dunn Award of Excellence.