Gerhardt, Ransom and Biagi Named Distinguished Alumni by College of Engineering

Three Knowlton School alumni were among 15 distinguished alumni recognized at the 17th Annual Excellence in Engineering & Architecture Alumni Awards in October. Each year the College of Engineering honors alumni of the college and the Knowlton School for extraordinary personal achievements, remarkable contributions to their professional fields, or for outstanding service to the college. This year’s honorees from the Knowlton School and the awards they received are:

Horace Russell ‘Buss’ Ransom (BS ’61, architecture), who was honored with the Meritorious Service Citation. This award recognizes individuals whose sustained and extraordinary personal services have had a significant and lasting impact on the advancement of the college

Bill Gerhardt (BS ’78, landscape architecture) and David Biagi (MS ’87, architecture) were honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards, honoring their outstanding professional achievement signified by an important invention, notable research or design, administrative leadership, or genius in production.

Buss Ransom

After graduating from Ohio State, Buss worked for a number of architectural firms before founding his own company, HR Ransom, Inc., in 1972. The firm was known for designing and building high-quality projects, including land and commercial development, single and multi-family residences and condominiums. His innovative designs led the way for riverfront development in and around Columbus. In recognition of his work, Buss has received the Building Industries’ Washburn-Schofield Award and the Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects.

Buss has been an industry spokesman for the building community presiding over the local and state associations representing the home building industry and, in 2009, was inducted into the Building Industry Association of Central Ohio’s Hall of Fame. In 1989, Buss received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Engineering. Beyond this history of service to the university and his profession, Buss and his wife Lou Ann Moritz Ransom have given to the local community by being long-time supporters of Columbus’ Homeless Families Foundation.

Bill Gerhardt

Bill is the founder and president of GreenScapes Landscape Company, one of the largest commercial and residential landscape contractors in central Ohio. It’s a testament to Bill’s creative and entrepreneurial drive that he founded GreenScapes in 1977, while still a student at Ohio State. In May, Bill celebrated 37 years as an entrepreneur, landscape architect, and senior level executive. He is considered an expert and thought leader on the topics of horticulture, construction and sustainability both within the local community and across the nation.

In addition to his founding role at GreenScapes, Bill serves on the boards of The Ohio Chapter of The American Society of Landscape Architects and The Franklin Park Conservatory. He is an Ohio Certified Landscape Technician and has served as president of both the Columbus Landscape Association and The Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association (ONLA). Bill has received numerous awards throughout his career. Most recently, he was recognized by the ONLA with the inaugural Legislative Grassroots Award as well as the ONLA Distinguished Contribution Award.

David Biagi

David’s career in architecture spans nearly three decades, and is characterized by a rapid and sustained progression to the top of the profession, both as a practitioner and educator. He became a registered architect in 1985 and, two years later, earned his Master of Architecture degree here at Ohio State where he also received the American Institute of Architects Medal as the highest-ranking graduate student in his class. Upon graduation, he spent several years practicing architecture in New York City at Eisenman Architects and Gwathmey Siegel Architects. In 1996, David was named to the once every ten-year list of “40 under 40” while at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. His design work appeared around the world in publications such as The New York Times and Architectural Record.

Paralleling his development as an architect, David’s career in higher education quickly evolved from an adjunct teaching position at the University of Kentucky in the late 1990’s to his appointment, in 2002, as the inaugural Director of the School of Architecture in UK’s new College of Design.  In his long tenure as Director at UK, David has proved to be an exceptional administrator and leader, overseeing major curricular transformations, the development of new degree programs, the nurturing and promoting of a research culture among his faculty and, in general, the building of a national reputation for the architecture program in Lexington.  Reflective of his status in Kentucky, David currently serves as president of the Kentucky Board of Architects.