Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Fred N. Finn

Fred N. Finn M.S., P.E., N.A.E.

Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on

Fred N. Finn received his M.S. (1950) degree in Civil (Transportation) Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.  He also received a B.S. (1944) degree in Civil Engineering from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.  For the first two decades of his career, Mr. Finn held a number of  positions, including with the Civil Engineer Corps of the U.S. Navy, as an Assistant Research Engineer and Lecturer at Berkeley’s Institute of Traffic and Transportation Engineering, and as a senior engineer and researcher with the Asphalt Institute.  Later, he served as a senior engineer and vice president with several prominent engineering and consulting firms, and he had his own private consulting practice from 1977-1985 and again in 1993 until his retirement.  In 1992-1993, he was a Visiting Research Engineer in the Berkeley CEE Department.

Over a period of more than 40 years, Mr. Finn developed many technical innovations and made many outstanding contributions to the theory and practice of transportation engineering.  His areas of focus included materials characterization and evaluation, pavement design, and development of management systems for highway, airfield, and industrial pavements.  He gained international prominence for his work in applying mechanistic procedures to the analysis and design of pavements and in pioneering the development of pavement management systems.  In 1961, he was selected to organize the First International Conference on the Structural Design of Asphalt Pavements held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, which led directly to the creation of the International Society for Design of Asphalt Pavements.

Mr. Finn is the author or co-author of several of the most important reports and papers prepared over the course of development of asphalt pavement technology, including the 1967 NCHRP report, Factors Involved in Design of Asphalt Pavement Surfaces, the 1978 NCHRP report, Minimizing Premature Cracking of Asphalt Concrete Pavements, the 1984 TRB report, Asphalt Overlay Design Procedures (Synthesis of Highway Practice), and the 1989 FHWA/AASHTO/TRB joint publication, The AASHTO Guidelines for Pavement Management Systems.  Among his many professional recognitions, Mr. Finn is an Honorary Member of the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists (AAPT) and a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).  He received the AAPT’s Walter J. Emmons Best Paper Award in 1970 and again in 1985.  He also received the ASCE State-of-the-Art Award in 1978 and the James Laurie Prize in 1990.  In 1990, he was inducted into the Roll of Honor of The Asphalt Institute.  In 1993, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.  Throughout his career, Mr. Finn has been a great supporter of Berkeley CEE, through teaching, research, and collaboration with faculty.