NCAC Announce Award Winners at Annual Meeting

The National Council of Acoustical Consultants in the US recently presented two awards at its annual meeting in December in New Orleans.

Laymon N. Miller Award for Excellence in Acoustical Consulting

The recipient of the 2017 Laymon N. Miller Award for Excellence in Acoustical Consulting is George Paul Wilson, PhD. This award was developed jointly by the National Council of Acoustical Consultants (NCAC) and the Institute of Noise Control Engineering of the United States of America (INCE-USA). This award is given to an individual who has practiced acoustical consulting in an exemplary manner over a sustained period of time to improve acoustical environments in and around buildings, transportation systems, work places, recreational, and other occupied spaces such that the quality of life for citizens and communities is significantly enhanced.

Dr. Wilson was nominated for the Laymon N. Miller Award for Excellence in Acoustical Consulting by his peers and fellow NCAC members. Words chosen to describe Dr. Wilson and his work include, “George’s accomplishments are well known in our industry through an impressive list of published research, through the successful outcomes of hundreds of challenging projects, and through the love and respect of fellow coworkers and industry colleagues.”

Shortly after receiving his PhD from the University of California Berkeley in 1964, Dr. Wilson founded his own independent acoustical consulting firm. One of the new firm’s first projects was work for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit System, which led to the first of many of Wilson Ihrig’s creative solutions to acoustical problems. His innovations in the fields of noise and vibration control for rail systems has positively impacted the lives of thousands who live and work near rail lines. These advancements led to building projects that require similar design work.

The first major US concert hall isolation project for Wilson Ihrig was Benaroya Hall in Seattle. The site, directly over a freight and passenger train tunnel and adjacent to a bus and light rail tunnel, required a two-stage isolation system that would become the model for many future buildings throughout the world.

Dr. Wilson’s encomium read, “Dr. Wilson’s many innovations . . . have made seemingly impossible projects possible.” Although retired, Dr. Wilson still contributes his expertise to special projects.

The C. Paul Boner Award

Robert C. Coffeen, FASA, was named as the recipient of the C. Paul Boner award. This award is presented to a member of the acoustical consulting community who embodies the qualities of the late C. Paul Boner—teacher, scientist, administrator, technician—and who has made outstanding contributions to the science of acoustics.

Coffeen was nominated for the C. Paul Boner Award by his peers and fellow NCAC Members. Words chosen to describe Coffeen and his work include, “Bob Coffeen personifies the meaning of the Boner Award. His record of accomplishment is outstanding and his contributions to the advancement of acoustical consulting and the training of future generations of consultants is exemplary.”

In 1964, as a young electrical engineer, Coffeen founded an acoustical consulting firm that was awarded a project to design an audio paging system for the new passenger terminal at Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC. The success of that project led not only to the growth of his firm, which has completed over 3,000 projects in ten countries, but also to Coffeen’s lifelong goal of making “every space the company touched sound great.”

In addition to consulting work, Coffeen has also had a long career as a teacher instructing graduate-level students in architectural acoustics, building noise control, and electro-acoustics at the University of Kansas. Coffeen has often been heard telling his students, “There’s more to sound than what you hear.” His teaching excellence led to the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) presenting Coffeen with the Rossing Prize for Education in Acoustics.

Additionally, Coffeen has been honored as an ASA Fellow—twice named Instructor of the Year by the National Systems Contractors Association—as well as being presented with their Lifetime Achievement Award, and was inducted to the Systems Contractor News Hall of Fame.