About AIST

Distinguished Member and Fellow Award

►Nomination Form
►Award Recipients

History and Purpose

The AIST Distinguished Member and Fellow Award, established in 1975, shall be awarded to an AIST member who has attained eminent distinction in advancing the technical development, production, processing and application of iron and steel and/or related activities of the industry, and has performed meritorious service to the association.

Nomination Process

Nominations shall be made by submitting the AIST Award Nomination Form. Five letters of endorsement, a biography and proposed citation are required with each nomination.

All nomination information is considered confidential to the AIST Board of Directors, the Awards & Recognition Program Committee and its subcommittees.


A candidate shall be an AIST member recognized for significant merit in the fulfillment of the award’s purpose. Emphasis is placed on the achievement of both eminent distinction within the specific area of technical expertise and the performance of meritorious service to the association. Posthumous nominations shall be eligible if nominated within three years of death. 

Selection Process

The committee consists of the AIST President, who also acts as chair, First Vice President, Second Vice President, First Officer at Large (also Chair of the Awards Program), Second Officer at Large, Third Officer at Large and the Foundation President. The committee can select up to five candidates. Each candidate must receive approval from 5 members of the 7-member committee, then a two-thirds vote of approval from the Board of Directors for elevation to Distinguished Member and Fellow. The maximum number of living Distinguished Member and Fellows (≤80 years of age) shall not exceed 1% of the AIST membership.


2022 Distinguished Member and Fellow Award

Eugene B. Pretorius
Manager — Steelmaking Technology, Nucor Corp., Mt. Pleasant, S.C., USA

In recognition of his groundbreaking work on slag chemistry, slag foaming and the application of thermodynamic principles, which has revolutionized our understanding of the electric furnace process and clean steelmaking technology. As a valued AIST Technology Committee member, insightful lecturer and proficient author, Dr. Pretorius serves as an advocate for continuous learning, dedicating his time and expertise to the training and development of steelmakers across the industry. Often queried for his expertise, he always responds with thoughtful consideration and without reservation.


2022 Distinguished Member and Fellow Award

Chenn Q. Zhou
NIPSCO Distinguished Professor of Engineering Simulation; Director, Center for Innovation Through Visualization and Simulation and Steel Manufacturing and Visualization Consortium, Purdue University Northwest, Hammond, Ind., USA

In recognition of her extraordinary passion and commitment for the Association’s mission of service to the steel industry. A prolific researcher, author and educator of computer-aided modeling, simulation and visualization technologies, Dr. Zhou has given her energy and expertise to program AIST symposia to facilitate the early adoption of digitalization technologies to promote industry leadership in smart manufacturing applications. Through her service as an AIST Foundation Trustee and beyond, she continues to inspire the next generation to find evolutionary solutions to the industry’s most formidable technical challenges.



2021 Distinguished Member and Fellow Award

Wendell L. Carter
Senior Vice President, Flat Rolled Steel, Cleveland-Cliffs Steel LLC, Burns Harbor, Ind., USA

For his commitment and leadership to the fulfillment of the missions of service for AIST and the AIST Foundation. Carter’s contributions to the advancement of steel production technologies, his passion for recruiting and developing the next generation, and his service to the steel industry and the communities it serves embody the true spirit of AIST.



2021 Distinguished Member and Fellow Award

Ruth Engel
Consultant, Refractory Consulting Services, Oxford, Ohio, USA

For her exceptional tenacity in maintaining the industry’s focus on the importance of, and dependence upon, refractories within the steel production process routes; for her valuable contributions to improving these steelmaking processes; and for her service as a dedicated committee member and educator for the past 35 years. Engel is an outstanding role model and mentor for women engineers around the world.



2021 Distinguished Member and Fellow Award

George J. Koenig
Chief Commercial Officer, Phoenix Services LLC, Kennett Square, Pa., USA

In recognition of his distinguished career in the iron and steel industry, for his years of dedicated service to AIST and its predecessor organizations, and for his leadership in the association. Koenig’s influential role in the creation, evolution and enduring commitment to the AIST Town Hall Forum since its inception in 2003 has provided AIST members with a unique view to the insights and personalities of the steel industry’s most influential leaders.



2020 Distinguished Member and Fellow Award

William P. Breedlove
senior vice president and chief commercial officer, American Zinc Recycling Corp., Coraopolis, Pa., USA

For his dedicated service to AIST and the AIST Foundation. Having served as AIST Foundation president from 2005 to 2007 and AIST president from 2010 to 2011, his guiding principles and work ethic set a standard of excellence. His promotion of the Foundation successfully drove fundraising to new levels, significantly advancing its mission to enable the next generation of steelmakers in their academic pursuits.



2020 Distinguished Member and Fellow Award

Dale E. Heinz
retired operations manager, ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor, Burns Harbor, Ind., USA

For his leadership and support of AIST through its Technology Committees, Member Chapters and student-oriented programs. His passion and dedication in support of the AIST Foundation and its mission to educate the next generation of our workforce has been an invaluable contribution to the steel industry.



2020 Distinguished Member and Fellow Award

John R. Middleton
director, Multon Process Technology Ltd., Scunthorpe, U

In recognition of more than six decades of contributions to advancing technical development in the production and processing of steel. His work in the implementation of industrial-scale continuous casting and vacuum degassing in the 1960s in the U.K. was significant. Middleton was a pioneer in the infancy of industrial computer applications, having developed dynamic modeling as well as integrated management and optimization systems which are now in use at steel plants around the world. He is a dedicated member of the Specialty Alloy & Foundry Technology Committee and has led their first Study Tours to the U.K. and Spain. Middleton is a distinguished gentleman with a distinguished career in our industry.