I was saddened to hear of the recent passing of three individuals who were very prominent and active within the tunneling industry – Jack Burke, Ed Cruz and Jim McKelvey. Their separate obituaries are listed within the News section of this issue.
Cruz’s company, E.E. Cruz, was a pioneer in the microtunneling field in the United States, completing many of the first projects in the country outside of Houston, where the technology debuted here. Cruz’s jobs included deep, large diameter tunnels, notably the Hylan Boulevard project in Staten Island, which involved 100-ft deep shafts and a 1,625-ft drive – a U.S. standard for nearly 20 years. Cruz was a Moles Member and won the Moles Member Award in 2006.
McKelvey spent most of his career working in his native South Africa before coming to the United States in 2003. He was active in industry associations, including serving on the organizing committees of the Fox Conference, North American Tunneling and World Tunnel Congress. I first met Jim when he joined our annual Roundtable in 2009, and I always looked forward to seeing him at all the industry events.
When I first started at TBM: Tunnel Business Magazine, Burke was a contributing editor who wrote our Tunnel Update section – a comprehensive review of projects underway across the United States and Canada. Jack used his network of contacts in the contracting community – built through his 50 years of experience in the market – to pull together this information (sent via floppy disk through the mail!).
I first met Jack when I attended my first Moles Dinner in 2000. Two things stood out most. First was that everybody knew Jack. It was fun hanging out with him and, of course, getting introduced to the Who’s Who in the industry.
Second was his enthusiasm. This was a man who was semi-retired and had spent more than 50 years in the business, but you could see his eyes light up when people were talking about projects. He never lost that sparkle.
One interesting fact about Jack, he was a World War II veteran who was serving in the Pacific Theater during the Tokyo Bay Surrender. He shared his stories with my son, Jayson, for a school project he did on World War II. He sent this photo of the surrender, which took place on the USS Missouri. Jack’s boat, the USS Delta, is visible in the upper right. I thought it would be interesting to share.
These men may be gone, but they will not be forgotten.