Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mirza Rabbaig, PE: Reflections of a Colleague

Reflections of a Colleague

By: John McGrail, PE
Retired Head Engineer DWSD WWCG

A colleague dies and we reflect on his passing. We think of his wife and his children and how the loss will affect them. We secretly, I suppose think, "There but for the grace of God go I." We think back upon the years spent in close professional contact with our colleague and reflect on the ups and downs of that relationship and willingly, perhaps out of respect to the fallen colleague, extend to him the benefit of any doubt and remember all the good he did and we did together.

I did not know Mirza Rabbaig in the sense that he was a personal friend.  The department in which he and I spent over thirty years of our lives did not encourage the development of intimate friendships. Our department was not the kind of organization that saw such things as important. Perhaps such knowledge was not important. So I can speak only to what Mirza meant to me professionally.

Mirza was the sort of man who understood what needed to be done and then did it regardless of the obstacles placed before him. Mirza was the first and only leader of the department’s CSO program.  He became group leader of the CSO group around 1994 and from that time to the present day oversaw the development of a program that added more than 17 new facilities to the department’s infrastructure at a cost of nearly $500 million. In the 20 or so years from 1994 until the present day no group leader was more consistently and reliably productive than Mirza.

Here I must state my own admiration for the man.  My group was charged with the construction management of the department’s installation work. While my group worked everywhere in the department and installed projects generated by 13 head engineers over a period of thirty years, none produced more work than Mirza and since my group’s success was largely tied to the work product of the design groups, Mr. Rabbaig can be credited for a sizable portion of my success.

As time has passed, I find myself often remembering a lost colleague.  My friend and mentor Dave Casey like Mirza worked and never retired, dying before he had an opportunity to do so.  Just yesterday I learned of the death of AndrĂ© Hindo PE who, with his brothers Ned and Kal, were important personalities in the design and construction business in our region. Now I reflect on the passing of yet another colleague, Mirza Rabbaig and find myself sad and a bit lonely.

All who read this should remember Mirza as a man who got things done and who in significant ways improved the water quality environment of our region. 

If one day you are driving on I-94 west and pass the “concrete channel” on the Rouge River and see a heron wading along its shore stalking minnows, think of Mr. Rabbaig whose CSO facilities upstream made such a sight possible. Can we say more of a man who has left this sort of mark, I think not. 


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lakeshore Global Submits Low Bid on Water Main Replacement Project, WS-691 (UPDATED)

On May 15, 2014, Lakeshore Global Corporation submitted a low bid of $11,798,827 for the project known as "Water System Improvements: Joy Rd from Trinity to Southfield Fwy," DWSD Contract WS-691. 

There were only three (3) bidders on this project. The as-read bids received by DWSD are as follows:
  1. Lakeshore Global Corporation . . . $11,798,827
  2. Major Cement Company . . . . . . . . $14,879,043
  3. Blaze Contracting, Inc. . . . . . . . . . $15,249,000  

All three of these contractors are Detroit Based Businesses.

The scope of work for Contract WS-691 includes the replacement of existing 8-inch, 16-inch, and 24-inch water mains. The Contractor will furnish and install approximately 13,300 linear feet of 8-inch, 133 linear feet of 16-inch, and 8,022 linear feet of 24-inch ductile iron pipe and fittings.  

Update (6/25): Major Cement Company was awarded this contract today at the Regular Water Board Meeting. Lakeshore Global Corporation's bid was rejected as non-responsive because the required bid security and accompanying documentation was not contained in the bid package at the time of submittal.

For more about DWSD Update, click here

Support Building for Regional Water Authority Among DWSD's Suburban Wholesale Customers

Among DWSD's suburban wholesale customers, there is growing support for a regional water authority, despite continued opposition by Oakland and Macomb Counties. Wholesale customers are also seeking to join the currently-private mediation process aimed at forming a new water and sewer authority.   

On May 2, 2014, the Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority (SOCWA), which represents 11 suburban wholesale customers, including Birmingham, Royal Oak, and Southfield, filed papers with the bankruptcy court in Detroit's Chapter 9 case seeking to participate in the private mediation process originally requested by Wayne County in April. 

The Western Townships Utility Authority (WTUA), which represents Canton, Northville, and Plymouth has also endorsed a regional water authority as a viable alternative and sought participation in the process. 

Conference of Western Wayne Communities
Most recently, on May 9, 2014, the Conference of Western Wayne (CWW), a group of 18 wholesale customers in Wayne County representing some 700,000 residents, unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing the concept of a regional authority and seeking participation in the on-going mediation process with the three suburban counties -- Wayne, Oakland and Macomb. 

Comment: The impression I have from these latest developments is that not all suburban communities are in line with Oakland and Macomb County's hard-line stance toward negotiating a new authority, nor do the Wayne County communities fully endorse their county leaders. Given what's at stake, I think as many stakeholders as possible should have a voice in the process of creating the Great Lakes Water and Sewer Authority.

For more about DWSD Update, click here.  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mirza Rabbaig: DWSD Loses Veteran Engineer

Sad News -- Over the past weekend, Mirza M. Rabbaig, P.E.,  a 33-year veteran of the DWSD died unexpectedly while visiting his family in India.  He was 64 years old. Mr. Rabbaig is survived by his wife, Shaheen, sons Maseer and Shaheer, and daughter, Sheema.

Mr. Rabbaig was the Head Engineer of the CSO Control Group, and had over thirty years of experience with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Since 1994 he managed the development and implementation of the DWSD's Combined Sewer Overflow Control Program.

Mr. Rabbaig was also active in his community. He was President of his mosque (Muslim Community of Western Suburbs) at this time of his death.  

Comment: I met Mirza only a few times, and didn't know or work with him like many of you did. If any of you have thoughts or stories that you'd like to share with the DWSD community, I'd be glad to publish them. Please e-mail me here and put "Mirza" in the reference field. You're also free to post a comment.