Tom Sawyer, ENR deputy editor, retires this week—leaving a lasting legacy for our enterprise. Just one of his major accomplishments, in 2002, was developing the idea to host the ENR Photo Contest. The former high school photography teacher was a natural for the assignment.
It is quite fitting that one of Tom’s final projects as a staffer has been launching this year’s competition. We invite readers to submit their best photos taken anywhere in the world in the past year by Nov. 8, 2019. Go to the talent tab on the navigation bar of ENR.com and choose Photo Contest.
Sawyer may be best known as ENR’s technology expert. He helped launch the ENR FutureTech brand of e-newsletters, weekly tech pages, quarterly tech reports and our largest live event. This expertise earned him the James B. Porter Jr. Award for Technology Leadership—the highest honor from construction group Fiatech.
He also has excelled at what he calls "expeditionary reporting." He learned that the Defense Dept. was allowing reporters to embed with troops in Kuwait in advance of the invasion of Iraq. Intrigued about the work of combat engineers, Tom, equipped with a helmet purchased at an Army surplus store, embedded with the Army’s 130th Engineer Brigade. That led to ongoing coverage of combat engineers in Iraq, earning him the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal from the U.S. Army Engineers Association.
Additional expeditionary assignments included on-the-scene coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and shadowing engineers in 2011 to search for lessons in the debris of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.
Sawyer won many journalism awards, including the first ever Neal Award for Best Video. Fortunately, readers are likely to see more of his award-winning work. While planning to spend much more time with his wife, former New York Times staffer Susan Kille, and their two daughters and three grandchildren, Tom will continue writing, producing video and working on special projects as a consultant to ENR.