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. 



jebloghan:sentimentality is my specialty said...

HI Peter,

That was a lovely sentiment you wrote. I stumbled upon this blog post as I was searching Andre Hindo. I am his youngest daughter and appreciate you mentioning him and my uncles. I would love to hear any other stories you have of my dad if you would be so inclined to share.

Take care,

Ana sweet said...
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