Sam Easterling, Virginia Tech professor and department head of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering, is the 2012 recipient of the Educator Special Achievement Award of the American Institute of Steel Construction.

The award is based on Easterling's contributions to the construction industry in terms of using composite materials and for his input to the institute's guidelines on design using composite materials. The award will be presented at the Institute's North American Steel Construction Conference in April.

Easterling is acknowledged to be one of the leading researchers in composite floor systems, and his work has positively impacted numerous national design codes. He has published approximately 160 papers and reports since joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 1987, and he directed or co-directed nearly $3.75 million of external research funding across more than 60 research grants and contracts.

The quality of Easterling's research has been recognized several times, including his selection by the American Society of Civil Engineers for the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize and his selection to be the 2002 T.R. Higgins Lecturer by the American Institute of Steel Construction.

Easterling, the Montague-Betts Professor of Structural Steel Design at Virginia Tech, earned his bachelor and master's degrees in civil engineering from West Virginia University in 1981 and in 1983, respectively. His alma mater inducted him into its Academy of Civil Engineers in 2007. He received his doctorate from Iowa State University in structural engineering in 1987. He is a registered professional engineer in Virginia.

He is a member of the American Institute of Steel Construction, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Engineering Education, Structural Stability Research Council, Chi Epsilon, Phi Kappa Phi, and Tau Beta Pi.

Easterling has served as head of the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering since fall semester of 2009. Previously he spent 11 years as an assistant department head. He has been on the university's Faculty Senate, Athletics Committee, Commission on Faculty Affairs, and the University Council. He is the 2004-05 past president of the Faculty Senate.