Obituary - Drupad Batuklal - Dru Desai 1940 - 2010


Drupad Batuklal - Dru Desai 1940 - 2010
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Dru Desai

An engineer more committed to the US tunneling industry would be difficult to find. Dru Desai was a leading civil and geotechnical engineer in the US tunneling industry, a regular at the tunneling conferences and meetings in North America, and quick to be involved and contribute to working groups, organisations and committees.
TunnelTalk remembers meeting Dru at many a North American RETC and NAT conference and joined him for a meeting arranged in New York to report the merger of DMJM (Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall), Dru's engineering career employer in the USA, and Fredric R Harris, both now fully absorbed, and with Faber Maunsell and other takeovers, into the integrated parent company AECOM.
Dru died on Tuesday, 2 November at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, Maryland. Dru was a diabetic and had been unwell for some time. A celebration of Dru's life was held at Donaldson Funeral Home & Crematory on Wednesday this week (November 10), once relatives and friends arrived from Dru's home city Mumbai, India. Dru is survived by his wife, Tarini Drupad Desai; son, Apurva Desai and daughter-in-law, Urvi Desai, both of Vienna, VA; son, Parag Desai of Washington, DC; grandson, Rithik Desai and his three brothers, Harshad, Dushyant and Janak Desai.
Among the many projects on which Dru worked, TunnelTalk interviewed and worked with him on tunneling project reports for several including the tunnel jacking underpass of the live rail tracks for the Big Dig Central Artery project in Boston; the Russia Wharf and Fort Point Channel crossing phase two of the Silverline Transit system in Boston; the Tren Urbano rail system for San Juan in Puerto Rico; and the Pittsburgh Northshore LRT Connector link under the Allegheny River. The Northshore Connector project is the topic of the BTS (British Tunnelling Society) meeting next week (Thursday 18 November) at the ICE in London. Further information from colleagues and friends in memory of Dru and his career will be published in the coming days.

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