Charles Nmai was born in Ghana and earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering with first class honors from the University of Science and Technology in 1980. After graduation, he worked as an intern at Ansah and Partners, a structural engineering firm in Ghana, before serving his national service program at the university.
He came to the United States in 1981 and worked on a National Science Foundation sponsored research project to study the behavior of lightly-reinforced concrete beam-column connections subjected to earthquake loading under the guidance of Prof. David Darwin at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. He graduated in August 1984 with a master's degree in civil engineering. He came to Purdue University on a David Ross Fellowship in August 1984 and, working with Prof. Mark Bowman, researched the feasibility of using crack gages to detect fatigue crack initiation in butt-welded connections in steel bridge beams and girders. He completed his doctorate studies in 1986 and joined Master Builder Builders, Inc. in February 1987 as a project engineer in the Cement Products research department.
He held positions of increasing responsibility and was appointed chief engineer in 1999, a functional position he currently holds, following acquisitions, as Engineering Associate in the Admixture Systems group at BASF Corporation. In this role, he is responsible for providing technical leadership and strategic guidance and serving as a technical resource to design professionals and end-users of the company's products and specialty concrete technologies. He is co-inventor of a novel corrosion inhibitor that has been used in mega-projects such as the Denver International Airport parking garage and Singapore's Changi airport and North-East Mass Rapid Transit lines.
Leveraging the expertise that he has developed throughout his career, he is very much involved in technology transfer activities and specification efforts to advance the use of durable and sustainable solutions in the concrete industry worldwide. In addition to his efforts within the private sector, he has worked tirelessly with the Federal Highway Administration and collaborated with others to promote the use of high-performance concretes in transportation structures to improve their constructability and durability. He is actively involved in standards activities and is a Fellow and past member of the Board of Direction of the American Concrete Institute, and an honorary member of ASTM International Committee C09 on "Concrete and Concrete Aggregates."
Charles and Rita, his wife, live in Twinsburg, OH with their two young children, Christopher and Claudia.