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Remembering a Firm Leader, Donald F. Sorgenfrei

NEW ORLEANS, LA | It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Mr. Donald F. Sorgenfrei, former Senior Vice President of Modjeski and Masters and Principal in charge of the New Orleans Office. Don has been a leader, mentor and friend, and has had a big impact on many of us and our clients both professionally and personally.

Don began his career with Modjeski and Masters in 1966 as a Junior Engineer in the Harrisburg Office, following the footsteps of his father, Otto Sorgenfrei, who was a Partner of the firm. Don was promoted to Associate in 1976, and later to Principal in 1992. He led the firm-wide business development and growth initiatives in field services, construction management and railroad services, and made significant contributions to the firm and the bridge industry as a whole. His vast knowledge and technical expertise in all phases of bridge engineering were the hallmark of his long and distinguished career, highlighted by:

  • Serving as Field Engineer, Resident Engineer, Project Manager and Principal in Charge for the construction of 10 railroad vertical lift bridges;
  • Serving as Principal in Charge for the inspections of the Crescent City Connection I and II Bridges and the Huey P. Long Bridge over the course of much of his career;
  • Overseeing the establishment and growth of the firm’s Mid-America offices; performing system-wide steel bridge inspections including actively inspecting over 500 bridges in 13 states, followed by the development and implementation of the 1st generation bridge inspection database; and
  • Teaching steel bridge and movable bridge inspection classes to 3 Class 1 railroads plus the American Bridge and Building Association (ARBBA) and the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance Way Association (AREMA).

Don was a nationally recognized and respected bridge expert, whose experience was sought out by many agencies and companies. He was a bridge engineering resource for both the highway and the railroad industry and was active in various engineering societies. He was a Fellow and Life Member of the American Society of Civil Engineering, a Member of AREMA Committee 8 Concrete Structures and Foundations and Committee 10 on Structures, Maintenance and, and served on AREMA Board of Directors as well as Vice President of the Structural Functional Group. He was also a Member of the Society of American Military Engineers and the Steel Structures Painting Council. Don mentored innumerable young engineers, freely sharing his knowledge to aid them in their professional growth.

Throughout his fifty year association with the firm Don has made a measurable impact at Modjeski and Masters by continuing and strengthening our tradition of technical excellence and dedication to providing our clients with the best engineering solutions, and building many of the strong ties and special relationships with our clients. His down-to-earth manner, people skills, experience and practicality has earned him constant praises and high regards from clients and colleagues alike. He will be sorely missed by all of us.

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