MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — MTSU’s Heather Brown continues to bring notoriety to not only herself but to the highly acclaimed MTSU Concrete Industry Management program.

The much-honored Brown recently received another distinction in her outstanding career, earning the Joe W. Kelly Award from the American Concrete Institute in a virtual ceremony. ACI President Jeff Coleman made the announcement during the organization’s annual awards event in late March.

“It was nice to be recognized and such good timing to get an academic-related award,” Brown said. “The Joe W. Kelly Award encompasses the love I have for education. Receiving the award has been a milestone for me already this year. To be recognized by the American Concrete Institute as an exemplary educator just really caps the career I’ve had so far.

“I’m so excited that I’ve been able to be a part of the CIM program in particular. Obviously, ACI, being rooted in concrete, appreciates what we’re doing with CIM students.”

The award came one week before a groundbreaking ceremony for the School of Concrete and Construction Management’s 54,000-square-foot, $40.1 million building on the southwest side of campus. Brown led efforts that will combine state and industry funding for the project.

The Kelly award, established in 1974, is given in recognition of the contributions of Joe W. Kelly, past president of the American Concrete Institute, to concrete technology, his devotion to teaching, the advancement of his profession and use of concrete in construction.

The award, in the form of a plaque, is given only for outstanding contributions to education in the broad field of concrete.

MTSU led the way in the formation of Concrete Industry Management. It is one of five schools nationwide that specifically train students in concrete production and construction.

In her 20th year as an educator, Brown said she is “proud of the role I’ve been able to play” as MTSU has surpassed 1,000 CIM graduates “and I’ve been a part of nearly every one of those stories. I got here when the first group of 12 graduated, so I didn’t get to educate those first 12. But starting in Year 2 of graduates, I’ve been a part of every one of their lives. It has been a blessing to me to have that role.”

Brown stepped down in 2020 as School of Concrete and Construction Management director in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, a position she held many years, to spend more time with teenage sons Mason and Wyatt, who attend Central Magnet School, and husband, Chris Brown.

Following the groundbreaking, Brown announced to her colleagues, students and President Sidney A. McPhee she had accepted a position as vice president of quality control for Indianapolis, Indiana-based Irving Materials Inc. She will continue to live in Murfreesboro and plans to teach an MTSU class online this fall.

Brown was inducted into the Tennessee Concrete Association Lifetime Hall of Fame in February 2019.

In 2017, Concrete Construction magazine named Brown as one of the “Most Influential People in Concrete.”