Industry News

Charles ‘Chuck’ Praeger, of MBMA and Thomas Associates, passes away

The Metal Building Manufacturer Association (MBMA) released a statement informing members of the passing of Charles “Chuck” Praeger, former vice president at Cleveland-based Thomas Associates Inc. and assistant general manager at MBMA, on Oct. 16.

Praeger was assistant general manager at MBMA for 20 years, from 1995 until his retirement in 2014. He spent most of his career in the metal construction industry beginning with Armco Building Systems in 1967. In 2019, he was inducted into the Metal Construction Hall of Fame.

During his tenure, Praeger led the association through a period a significant growth. He worked on the development of the IAS AC472 accreditation program, creation of the associate member program, and introduction of the education, energy and sustainability committees.

During his career, Praeger saw the use of metal building systems grow from a small market share to widespread use. During the 1970s and 1980s, metal building system manufacturers faced many challenges in gaining acceptance and confidence among stakeholders for their products.

In Metal Construction News’ announcement about his induction in the Metal Construction Hall of Fame, Praeger said, “In those early days of the industry, we were working with all the code bodies and municipal authorities to get them to accept metal buildings as an alternative for one- and two-story nonresidential construction on every building we sold. Since metal buildings were so new, we had to submit full engineering calculations, drawings and details. We had to fight it out with every code official. Today, metal buildings are widely accepted and the design calculations, details and construction drawings have been normalized.”

W. Lee Shoemaker, Ph.D., PE, director of research and engineering at MBMA, worked with Praeger on many of the association’s initiatives. In Praeger’s hall of fame announcement, Shoemaker explained, Bob Ammerman, chairman of MBMA’s board, conceived of the Associate Member Program, and Chuck Stockinger’s leadership as general manager at MBMA contributed to the success of the program, but it was Praeger’s attention to detail that cultivated the idea into a cultural shift at the association.

“[Praeger] knew the industry and how to work with its people,” Shoemaker said. “MBMA members were only metal building systems manufacturers for 40 years before this, so it was quite a transition to incorporate suppliers to the industry. [Praeger] helped make this a smooth transition, and the inclusion of suppliers helped make MBMA stronger. Associate members play an integral part in MBMA’s industry initiatives and special projects, especially with regard to issues that involve the entire building system such as energy efficiency and fire resistance.”