Friday, October 13, 2023
By: Kyle Niblett
University of Florida M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management Director Robert F. Cox, Ph.D., was inducted into the National Academy of Construction (NAC) Thursday night at a ceremony at The Westin Copley Place in Boston. The NAC honors and recognizes those individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the construction industry.
“It is a humbling honor to be recognized by your peers in the National Academy of Construction,” Cox said. “The Academy includes so many people who played a role in shaping me as a professional. NAC members include my doctoral committee mentors, my former students, previous faculty colleagues and industry partners.”
Recognized as a resolute and influential academician and researcher, Cox is known worldwide for his outstanding influence on students, faculty, and engineering executives. Currently, the Gainesville resident spends much of his time engaged with industry partners while supporting faculty, staff, and students in keeping Rinker as one of the most reputable construction management programs in the country.
Cox returned to the UF College of Design, Construction and Planning as Rinker Director in July 2020 after previously serving as Associate Director/Director of Undergraduate Programs for the Rinker School of Building Construction from 1993 to 2006.
Before his return to Florida, the newest NAC member spent time at Purdue as the Senior Associate Dean for Globalization. There he was responsible for the overall strategic planning and execution of all international activities on behalf of the Boilermakers. While in West Lafayette, Indiana, he led the development of the Global Partners European Alliance (GPEA), bringing together six university partners from Europe and the United States to foster increased collaboration in faculty mobility, student exchange, and research.
He is a three-time national award-winning teacher and in 2019 received Purdue’s Global Vision Award for his accomplishments in globalization. Prior to that, Cox was selected as one of five inaugural members of UF’s Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars. In 2000, he was named UF’s Teacher of the Year.
A 1994 Ph.D. graduate from Virginia Tech with a focus in Civil Engineering – Construction Engineering and Management, Cox continues to be active in designing, implementing, and monitoring employee development, strategic quality management and continuous improvement programs within construction firms. He has given lectures on numerous construction management topics, such as effective collaboration, continuous improvement, high performance management techniques, trust building, and globalization strategies throughout the world.
With more than 60 publications and reports authored, Rinker’s leader has overseen the work of 160-plus master’s students and more than two dozen doctoral candidates, all while continuing to serve as an accrediting visitor for the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR).
“This is a very special achievement that really resonates with me,” Cox said. “It motivates me to work even harder to make positive, life-long impacts on as many construction professionals as possible over the coming years.”
Currently, Cox is leading the effort on development of a USAID proposal entitled, RE-building Ukraine’s National Independence Through Education (REUNITE). REUNITE focuses on the formation of a functioning collaborative at the intersection of academia, the public sector, and the private sector with the overarching goal of addressing the post-war Ukraine rebuilding activities through mutually beneficial activities with champions embracing education, government, and corporate perspectives.
In his limited spare time, he is an active consultant, global strategic advisor, construction expert witness, as well as a provider of professional / executive coaching. Most recently his corporate training programs have focused on developing high performance teams through a learning cultural environment. He has taught construction management courses in planning and scheduling, estimating, productivity improvement, cost analyses, construction project simulation, and global construction operations.
NAC Members Chimay Anumba (UF DCP Dean), Dan Whiteman (BCN ’69) and Robert F. Cox