The Deep Foundations Institute (DFI) recognized Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Sam Clemence as a recipient of a DFI Legends Award on November 2, 2023. This award was established to honor practitioners that have made significant contributions and advancements to the research, design, construction, manufacturing and use of deep foundations.
Clemence was recognized for his 40 years of comprehensive research on the design and behavior of helical foundations. He is credited with shaping the modern use of helical piles and tiebacks, which advanced to a widely implemented foundation tool and robust business industry. He was a founding member and chair of DFI’s Helical Piles and Tiebacks Committee.
Matthew Conte ’06, principal at the Conte Company, introduced Clemence at the DFI Awards ceremony and provided this tribute to Clemence’s accomplishments, innovation and leadership.
“If you work in the helical pile industry, you have Sam Clemence to thank. The modern use of these deep foundations was shaped by Sam. His research has created one of the most comprehensive data collections of torque-to-capacity and helix plate analysis in the industry. The use of helical piles and tiebacks advanced into a widely implemented foundation tool and robust business industry. Serving as the first Chair of the DFI Helical Pile and Tiebacks Committee, Sam made it known that these foundations have their place in design standards.
As an Assistant Operations Officer in the US Navy Civil Engineer Corps, Sam completed projects in some of the most remote locations in the world. Installing deep foundations into crystallized coral and constructing bridges using elephants probably would not surprise you if you were familiar with his creative approach to engineering.
With a career close to 50 years as an educator, Sam developed a unique way to both relate to young engineers while also preparing them for the industry ahead. He didn’t have to tout his accomplishments; you could recognize them in how he taught. When I meet other Syracuse University engineering alumni, we always share a fun story about our time with Professor Clemence. A legend always leaves a lasting impression on those they meet. The contributions of Sam Clemence have made impressions on the current deep foundation industry and will continue to do so in the contributions of the students he has taught.”