As a leader in the physical research field on highway materials, Earl Foster Kelly made many notable contributions to the body of knowledge we now posses about asphalt. He is known not only for his individual research but also as a leader on many research and committees.
Much of his invaluable work was performed during his 36 years with the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads. He joined the Bureau in 1920 and in 1925 was appointed Chief of an organizational unit that was later designated the Physical Research Division.
Both individually and as a committee member, he authored an extensive list of valuable asphalt research study reports.
Before joining the Bureau of Public Roads, he worked for the American Bridge Company and for the Iowa State Highway Commission. He also served as President of the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists in 1939 and was on its Board of Directors in 1940 and again in 1941.
Mr. Kelly received many awards in recognition of his work, among them the American Society for Testing and Materials Award of Merit in 1954 and the Highway Research Board’s “Roy W. Crum” Award in 1956.
He was born on July 29, 1886 in Latimer, Iowa. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Iowa State College in 1909 and in 1919 gained his professional Civil Engineering degree also from Iowa State College.