Born in Los Angeles on Oct. 23, 1916, Martin attended USC, but graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering in 1939. He served as a lieutenant in the Navy’s Civil Engineering Corps during World War II. In recognition of his contributions to the industry, the Structural Engineers Assn. of Southern California awarded Martin its lifetime achievement award in 1996. Martin was a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, a member of the board of governors of Thomas Aquinas College and was a founding member of the board of counselors of USC’s School of Medicine.
J. Edward Martin pioneered efforts to use computers to analyze earthquake engineering. Structural Analysis Program (SAP-1), developed in the late 60’s jointly by Martin and University of California Berkley, is recognized as the first dynamic analysis program for non-aerospace structures. Martin and his firm went on to adapt their structural high-rise program, thus completing the analysis of concrete dams, steel towers, and suspension bridges across the country.
Additionally, J. Edward Martin joined by his son Peter Martin developed the first commercially available architectural Computer Aided Design (CAD) system in the world. The system know as Interactive Design System (IDS) was first licensed to ARCO in 1977 as a space planning tool for the newly design Los Angeles headquarters building.
Martin, along with his brother Albert Jr., represented the second generation to run the family business, taking over management of the firm after World War II. Edward ran the management division of the firm, while Albert was the community and design expert. Edward Martin served as managing director until 1986 and remained active as partner emeritus until his retirement in 1997.