Dr. E. Ray Brown is best known in the asphalt industry for his work as Director of the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) at Auburn University. Dr. Brown started with NCAT in 1987 after working for 18 years with the Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station. During his tenure as Director, NCAT grew from a small series of laboratory and office spaces located on the campus of Auburn University with an annual budget of $500,000 to a stand-alone, world-class research and training facility with a full-scale test track and an annual budget of $5,000,000. He has since retired from NCAT and once again is working for the Corps of Engineers.
Ray graduated in 1969 with a BS degree in Civil Engineering from Mississippi State University and began working with the Corps of Engineers. While he was with the Corps, he received his Masters degree in Civil Engineering from Mississippi State University (1974) and his PhD in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University (1983). He is a registered professional engineer in Mississippi.
Early in his career at the Corps, Ray served as a research engineer and technical specialist responsible for asphalt pavement construction and materials. Areas of research included asphalt mix design, statistical quality control of paving materials and construction, development of test procedures for asphalt mixtures to measure basic engineering properties, and a study of rutting of asphalt pavements subjected to high tire pressures. One of his major accomplishments with the Corps was the development of a statistically-based specification for asphalt construction that is still widely used by the Department of Defense. He also was responsible for teaching short courses on pavement materials and construction. Later in his career he served as the chief of the Materials Research Center.
While at NCAT and Auburn University, Dr. Brown was responsible for the education of a generation of asphalt technologists. Sixteen students completed their doctoral degrees under the guidance of Dr. Brown, with thirteen of those students continuing on as members of the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists (AAPT). He is a co-author of the NCAT textbook, Hot-Mix Asphalt Materials, Mix Design, and Construction. He was also responsible for development of and instruction in the NCAT Professor Training Course which has had more than 300 “graduates” in asphalt technology.
Ray has served the asphalt industry in a number of associations and organizations. He has been a member and chairman of several committees of the Transportation Research Board (TRB), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Society for Asphalt Pavements (ISAP); serving as the leader and organizer of the 2004 International Symposium on the Design and Construction of Long-Lasting Asphalt Pavements. He served as president of AAPT in 2000-2001 and was selected as Honorary Member in 2008 – a prestigious group of only thirty-one AAPT members which includes 16 AI Roll of Honor Award winners.
Dr. Brown has also been a leader in national research projects, serving as the principal investigator on several National Cooperative Highway Research Program projects including research on the use of the gyratory compactor, mix design procedures for stone matrix asphalt (SMA), and development of the ignition method for asphalt content determination. He has authored or co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed technical papers for AAPT, TRB, ISAP, and the Canadian Technical Asphalt Association (CTAA). He was the recipient of TRB’s K.B. Woods Best Paper award in 2000 and has twice been recognized as a runner-up for AAPT’s Emmons (Best Paper) Award.
Dr. Ray Brown has been an outstanding role model for the technical community of the asphalt industry, exemplifying a lifetime commitment to research, engineering, and education in asphalt technology.