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A Tribute to an Amazing Person, a U.S. Navy Officer & Engineer, a Civil Engineering Professor, an Author of Multiple Publications, a Multiple Triathlons & Marathons Competitor, a Devoted Family Man and an MVP for the Helical Pile Industry - Samuel Clemence, Ph.D., P.E.

by Bill Bonekemper

November 2023

This author has logged a lot of miles in the past twenty three years peddling the advantages and benefits of helical piles and anchors.  My journey has afforded me the privilege of meeting and interacting with an impressive number of interesting and important people who have also been very involved in the helical pile industry.  I am both fortunate and honored to have had this opportunity.

One of the highlights along my journey’s path began earlier this year when I entered a nomination with the Deep Foundations Institute (DFI) for their Engineer Legends Award.  My nominee was Samuel Clemence, Ph.D., P.E.  Sam, as he prefers to be called, and I were notified in May by DFI’s executive director, Theresa Engler, that he had been selected to receive the award.  Sam asked me to work with him on his slide show for the presentation, and I was happy to do so.

The links below will provide readers with information about Sam’s Legends Award:

DFI Article About the Legends Selections

DFI Article About the Legends Banquet & Awards at DFI ‘48

There was an interesting piece of irony at the awards presentation when Matt Conte was introduced to come to the podium and make the presentation on Sam’s life and professional accomplishments.  First, Matte attended the University of Syracuse and Sam was his civil engineering professor.  Matte was truly honored to be making the presentation.  Secondly, Matte is the current chairperson of the DFI Helical Piles & Tiebacks Committee, and Sam was the very first chairperson of the committee some twenty five years ago.

As was depicted in the slide show Matte presented, the list of Sam’s professional accomplishments was amazing.  Equally as amazing was Sam’s lifetime of athletic accomplishments including:

  • Completed (45) Triathlons in Ten Years
  • Completed (10) Marathons in Multiple Cities
  • Completed Lake Placid Triathlon at Age 65
  • Completed the Hellespont & Dardanelies Swim in Canakkale Turkey at Age 76

   Click here to access the slide show

   Click here to watch a YouTube of all three Legends presentations

As a person that has not completed a single marathon, let alone a triathlon, it’s hard for me to imagine the physical attributes and commitment it surely takes to achieve such accomplishments.

It’s been an honor and great fun to know and interact with Sam in a non-engineering mode. If I were an engineer, I would certainly be praising his engineering career and technical accomplishments. Our industry has benefited greatly from his engineering work.

Thank You Sam