Previous Story Next Story

Civil engineering alumna to receive Carroll H. Dunn Award of Excellence

By Austin Phillips

Published: Jun 18, 2018 12:00:00 AM

Melissa Herkt Melissa Herkt

Melissa Brown Herkt, ’77 civil engineering, has been chosen to receive the Construction Industry Institute’s Carroll H. Dunn Award of Excellence.

The award was established in 1985 to honor an individual for significant achievements in improving the engineering and construction industry. The award is CII’s highest honor and is recognized as one of the most prestigious awards of its kind.

Selection criteria for the Dunn Award includes:

  • Significant contributions to the construction industry.
  • Demonstration of the highest degree of personal dedication to improving costs, schedule, quality, and/or safety of the capital facilities delivery process.
  • A leadership position in the construction industry from which others can be influenced by example and direction.
  • A level of knowledge and breadth of experience that distinguish the recipient as an eminent authority.
  • A record of accomplishment that brings added distinction to the recipient, the organizations with which he or she has been associated, and to the industry at large.

Herkt retired as president and COO of Emerson’s Process Systems and Solutions business unit, a company that produced almost $900 million in annual revenue, and she is a member of the university’s Foundation Board and the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council. She is active with the college’s Engineers Without Borders organization, having traveled four times with students and faculty to Bolivia to help a local village build irrigation, hydroponics and wind power systems, and the college’s 100+ Women Strong program, which aims to enhance the recruitment, retention and rewarding of Auburn women in engineering.

Recognized for her contributions to the engineering and construction industry, Herkt received CII’s Outstanding Implementer Award in 2004 and the Richard L. Tucker Leadership and Service Award in 2012. She was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2008, the National Academy of Construction in 2009 and she received the Auburn Alumni Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award — the university’s highest honor — in 2015. The Auburn Alumni Engineering Council also named her as a Distinguished Auburn Engineer in 2015.

Herkt will receive the award during a ceremony in July.

This distinguished award is named in honor of Carroll H. Dunn, who was the project director of the Construction Industry Cost Effectiveness Project, which was sponsored by The Business Roundtable and led to the creation of CII. Dunn had a highly decorated career in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, retiring as a lieutenant general. During his military career, Dunn served in World War II and later as director of the Titan II Missile Program and was division engineer of the Corps’ Southwestern Division.

In 1980, Dunn began work full-time on the CICE Project and later was instrumental in the establishment of CII. Dunn’s service to CII was considered so valuable that he was appointed an ex-officio member of all the original committees and research task forces. 

Media Contact: Austin Phillips,, 334-844-2444

Recent Headlines