New York — The ACE (Architecture, Construction, Engineering) Mentor Program of America, America’s top workforce development organization encouraging youth to pursue STEM-related careers, announced a well-attended luncheon event held in Manhattan, the birth place of the organization, to celebrate its 20th Anniversary and founder, Charles H. Thornton, Ph.D., P.E., Hon. AIA, Hon. ASCE.  After 20 years of growth, $12+ million in scholarship awards, and 40,000+ students provided with opportunities to prepare for college and beyond, ACE continues to expand.

Pictured left to right: Charles H. Thornton, ACE Founder; Thomas Gilbane, Jr., Chairman of the Board, ACE Mentor Program, and Chairman & CEO, Gilbane, Inc.; Jack Kalavritinos, President & CEO, ACE Mentor Program; Peter Davoren, ACE Vice-Chairman of the Board, and President & CEO, Turner Construction Company.

ACE founder and current Honorary Chair, Charles (Charlie) Thornton is one of the world’s preeminent structural engineers and educators. Co-chairman of Thornton Tomasetti until 2004, Charlie’s been involved in the design, construction, and analysis of billions of dollars of projects worldwide; his award-winning work has set industry standards for innovative thinking and creativity. Spanning decades, Charlie’s numerous awards and distinctions include the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Civil Engineering (2004), and Outstanding Projects and Leaders Lifetime Achievement Award (2013). However, Charlie counts amongst his proudest achievements the creation of ACE and the thousands of young lives he’s unalterably affected, initially leveraging the support of Thornton Thomasetti offices, then other companies he founded, all of which also sponsored ACE.

“On the 20th anniversary of ACE’s founding, the ACE Mentor Program is thriving, a grand testament to Charlie Thornton. ACE attracts growing numbers of students to its 35-40-hour after-school program who want to reach beyond textbooks and understand real world applications of their studies; scores of ACE alumni have returned to it as mentors ” commented Thomas Gilbane, Jr., Chairman of the Board, ACE Mentor Program, and Chairman & CEO, Gilbane, Inc.

Punctuating this point, Jack Kalavritinos, President & CEO, ACE Mentor Program, commented, “Today ACE is a national organization powered by 2,500+ industry professionals who mentor and annually engage more than 8,000 students.  Further, results from two ACE studies in 2015 show 98.6% of ACE high school seniors graduate from high school vs. the national average of 80%, and 70% of college-bound ACE seniors major in architecture, engineering or construction management.”

“Survey results reveal the depth of work established by Charlie Thornton and validate the important work ACE is doing through its extensive network of affiliates and mentors across the U.S.,” stated Tony Guzzi, ACE Vice-Chairman of the Board, and President & CEO, EMCOR Group, Inc. “The data helps define the immense value of this unique program for high school students, many of whom might not otherwise pursue a college education and enter our industry.”

“Thanks to Charlie, ACE is helping make our industry more representative of America’s diversity.  For example, the proportions of female and minority ACE alumni majoring in engineering in college are up to three times greater than the national rate.  Also, ACE is inspiring more minority students to study architecture vs. the national rate,” commented Peter Davoren, ACE Vice-Chairman of the Board, and President & CEO, Turner Construction Company. 

To register for the ACE program — or to become a mentor — find detailed information about ACE, and to find a local affiliate, visit