In my brief time covering the inner workings of our industry, I've had the opportunity to work with many dedicated professionals. Robert Nelson was one of those individuals.

Mr. Nelson passed away last week, following a lengthy health complication. Mr. Nelson's career spanned more than 50 years.

Mr. Nelson founded a construction materials testing group in Schaumburg, Ill., originally known as Robert L. Nelson & Associates. Recently the firm established two distinct operations, Nelson Testing Laboratories and Nelson Testing Services, to reflect the true scope of his work and expertise.

Though his work was primarily based in the upper Midwest, the reputation of Mr. Nelson and his employees has garnered international respect. Along with helping to provide services for construction activity, Nelson and his staff have been involved in numerous research projects that have helped advance masonry and concrete construction.

Mr. Nelson also served our industry in many masonry construction-related organizations. He was a Fellow of the American Society of Testing Methods (ASTM), an Honorary member of ASTM C12 Mortars on which he served as Vice Chair; a member and former Vice Chair of ASTM C07 Lime; and a member of ASTM C09 Concrete.

Nelson's leadership in the masonry industry included serving as Vice-President of The Masonry Society, and membership on the Masonry Joint Council. He was also a member of the British Masonry Society.

But the quality I remember most from my few meetings and conversations with Mr. Nelson was his fairness. He cared about getting it right. He desired to help craft an industry that eventually would be free of all disputes. But when there was a problem, his testing experience and expert advice were sought by contractors, owners, and investigators.

Our industry is a better place thanks to Mr. Nelson.

Mr. Nelson's family has asked that messages of condolence be sent in care of:

Nelson Testing Laboratories
1210 Remington Rd.
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Ph: 847-882-1146