ASCE has honored Thomas Davis Rust, P.E., M.ASCE, with the 2017 ASCE Presidents’ Award for his illustrious career as a professional engineer and professional planner, and for 40 years of meritorious service to the Commonwealth of Virginia in elected office, including 14 years as an elected member of the House of Delegates.
Rust is vice chairman of the Board of Directors of Pennoni, a multidiscipline consulting engineering firm ranked in the top engineering firms by Engineering News-Record. Pennoni has 1,200 employees in 30 offices in 12 states serving public, private, and government clients in all engineering disciplines. Rust was the senior principal of Patton Harris Rust & Associates, which merged with Pennoni in 2010.
He has been active in public life during his entire professional career. He was elected to the Herndon Town Council in 1971. He was elected mayor of Herndon in 1976 and served until 1984, when he chose to not seek reelection. In 1990, he again chose to serve Herndon and was elected mayor, a position he held until he resigned in December 2001 to serve in the Virginia General Assembly.
Rust then served in the House of Delegates from 2002 until January of 2016 when he retired after not seeking reelection. While in the House of Delegates, he served on the Education Committee, the Science and Technology Committee, the Commerce and Labor Committee, the Transportation Committee (as chairman), the Joint Commission on Transportation Accountability, and the Joint Commission on Science and Technology (as chairman).
He has also served the public higher education community with a stint on the Longwood College (now University) Board of Visitors from 1980 to 1988. He was rector (chairman) of the board from 1981 to 1988. He also served on the Board of Visitors of Virginia Tech from 1996 to 2002, where he was the vice-rector. The appointments to Boards of Visitors are by the Governor of Virginia.
Rust has received numerous awards throughout his career, including: a Lifetime Service Award from the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association, the Albert Gallatin Infrastructure Leadership Award from George Mason University, the OPAL Lifetime Achievement in Government from ASCE, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, Delegate of the Year on three separate occasions, the Tower of Dulles Award from the Committee for Dulles, and the Dr. Sidney Steel Founders Award from the Dulles Area Transportation Association. He was also named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Herndon Rotary Club.
The ASCE Presidents’ Award commemorates the nation’s first president, who was a civil engineer and land surveyor. The award recognizes an ASCE’s member’s distinguished service to his or her country.