NSPE Award

Deadline: January 31

The NSPE Award is the highest award given to an individual by the Society. It is presented to an engineer who has made outstanding contributions to the engineering profession, the public welfare, and humankind.

Past Recipients: See a complete list of recipients.

2019 NSPE Award Winner:
David Thaler, P.E., LS, DFE, D.WRE, FRGS, F.ASCE, F.NSPE
Baltimore, Maryland

David Thaler, P.E., F.NSPEIs the Managing Principal of D.S. Thaler & Assoc., LLC; a civil and environmental engineering firm that he founded in 1976. He has made sustained and unusual contributions to the public welfare and to the advancement of the engineering profession throughout his long and distinguished career.

Thaler is a Fellow of the National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Royal Geographical Society. He is a Diplomate of both the National Academy of Forensic Engineering and the American Academy of Water Resources Engineering. He has been honored numerous times by many organizations, has received several Lifetime Achievement awards, and holds Maryland’s highest military honor, the Distinguished Service Cross.

Thaler is involved with projects of extraordinary complexity and his firm has designed more than 4,000 residential, commercial, industrial and institutional land development assignments throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The firm has extensive experience with large, difficult, and environmentally complex projects and has created many innovative designs. For instance, Thaler invented “Super Silt Fence,” a technique that is now an international standard.

Extremely active in professional affairs, Thaler has served on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Society of Professional Engineers for over 30 years, including as President. He represented the professional engineering community in legislation on numerous matters before the General Assembly of Maryland and on regulatory issues before the Maryland Board for Professional Engineers and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. He successfully worked with the Maryland General Assembly to obtain Mechanics’ Lien protection for professional engineers, was the founding president of the Land Development Council of Maryland, Chair of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce and is an active member of numerous professional and technical societies. He has been a member of NSPE since 1971.

Thaler has been a highly visible and vocal advocate for well-engineered and designed communities and has been a tireless voice of the engineering profession. He has published more than 250 articles and five books on a wide variety of subjects, and has lectured at more than a dozen colleges and universities. Among others, he has taught at Lehigh University, the University of Maryland School of Architecture, The Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Baltimore School of Law where he was Visiting Scholar.

Internationally, Thaler participated in the Rule of Law Project in 2000 in St. Petersburg, Russia where he lectured on documenting and transferring real property at the Northwest Cadastral Land Institute in the Leningrad Oblast.

He also identified the original instrument used by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in their iconic survey of 1762-1767, proved its provenance, raised the funds for its restoration and organized an event where he ceremonially presented the restored instrument to the National Park Service as a “Gift to the Nation” from the engineers and surveyors of America.

Concerned about terrorist attacks after 9/11, Thaler formed a partnership between the Maryland Defense Force (formerly the Maryland State Guard) and the Maryland Society of Professional Engineers. He founded the Maryland Engineering Emergency Response Team to provide specialized professional engineering services to support the National Guard in times of natural disaster or civil exigency. He retired as a Colonel.

Thaler is also an accomplished bagpiper and for many years served as the Pipe Major of the Baltimore Police Department Ceremonial Unit where he performed at civic events and the funerals of many police, firefighters, and servicemembers killed in action including at Arlington National Cemetery.