October 11, 2015 |
A structural engineer testified Friday that the deadly demolition of a four-story Center City building had been handled well for weeks, but then, for unknown reasons, changed course with no regard for "common sense" or federal safety standards. Prosecution witness David B. Peraza said he did not know why contractor Griffin Campbell shifted from taking down the building using hand tools to using an excavator, a large and unwieldy piece of machinery. The change in approach came just a few days before June 5, 2013, when an unsupported four-story wall fell onto the adjoining Salvation Army thrift shop, killing six people and injuring 13. But a review of affidavits and other evidence led Peraza to conclude that decisions about how to demolish the building next to the thrift store rested not with property owner Richard Basciano, but were "within the domain and the control of the contractor," the engineer told the Common Pleas Court jury hearing Campbell's murder trial.
October 10, 2015 |
Robert W. Tickner, 83, a retired project engineer and a genealogist who traced his family's arrival in America back to 1638, died Monday, Oct. 5, of multiple myeloma at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Born in Susquehanna, Pa., to Robert N. Tickner and Marion Benson, Mr. Tickner served in the Navy during the Korean War. Afterward, he earned a bachelor of science and a master's degree, both in engineering, at Pennsylvania State University. He worked as an engineer at Sealtest, the ice cream maker, before joining Campbell Soup Co. in Camden as a project engineer in 1965.
October 9, 2015 |
For three days in 2013, an unbraced three-story brick wall left from a demolished Hoagie City building loomed over the Salvation Army thrift store at 22d and Market Streets. Why it stood that long before falling over and flattening the thrift store - killing six and injuring 13 - was a question even structural engineer Richard D. Roberts couldn't answer. Roberts told a Philadelphia jury Wednesday that the wall's condition was so precarious "it possibly could have blown over in a high wind.
October 3, 2015 |
Max Perchick, 99, of Philadelphia, a management engineer for industry and with the U.S. Defense Department for many years, died Friday, Sept. 25, of respiratory failure at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Born and reared in South Philadelphia, Mr. Perchick was a longtime resident of Center City. Starting in the 1970s, he lived along Benjamin Franklin Parkway. He moved to John F. Kennedy Boulevard in the early 2000s. He attended Temple University at night and worked at the Defense Supply Center.
September 22, 2015 |
YOU RARELY SAW Howard Wells without a camera around his neck. What started as a hobby eventually became a passion and ultimately a source of income. You weren't safe from the prying lens of Howard's camera. Nor would you want to be. His photographs captured the daily doings of his native city and its denizens. He also worked for a time for African-American newspapers the Philadelphia Tribune and the Afro-American, recording the events of the day, especially those of interest to African-Americans.
September 7, 2015
Three thirtysomething guys with mechanical- engineering degrees had well-paying jobs working in nuclear reactors, infant strollers, and the V-22 Osprey. They left them to tinker with bicycles. No small leap of faith, one acknowledged. "There's a saying in the bike business, 'The fastest way to end up with a million dollars is to start with two million,' " said Stephen Ahnert, cofounder of Philadelphia-based Redshift Sports. "It wasn't an easy decision to leave the salaries and stability of our jobs - I vacillated between extreme confidence and wild doubt, literally on an hourly basis.
August 20, 2015 |
BACK WHEN Charles Carter was working as a structural engineer for the Navy, he had to rely on such quaint tools as T-squares and slide rules. Modern-day engineers may have heard of such instruments, but to do the same work today, they rely on computers, punch a few keys to do the work that used to require a little more effort. Of course, Charles Carter would have been the last to criticize the work today's engineers do, and, in fact, would have been the first to hail any new development that increases efficiency.
August 17, 2015 |
Drexel-educated professional engineer Lawrence McKnight was working on Citizens Bank Park in 2003 as a member of the Pennoni Associates staff when he ventured to a home construction site nearby. That was Westrum Development Co.'s Reserve at Packer Park, which was then in the third phase and asking for and getting in the upper $300,000s to low $400,000s. Intrigued, McKnight joined Westrum, and spent the next eight or nine years with the company, "gaining a lot of knowledge about residential building," he said.
August 9, 2015 |
John V. Thompson, 82, formerly of North Wales, who rose from humble beginnings to become an engineer and manufacturer, died Tuesday, Aug. 4, of congestive heart failure at Normandy Farms Estates, where he had lived for three years. In 1972, Mr. Thompson, along with three friends, founded Pennsylvania Research Associates (PRA), a company that made business machinery. The Countess, the firm's signature product, is a currency counter still in use in banks and other outfits that handle a large volume of cash.
August 7, 2015 |
Samuel J. Martorana, 90, of Malvern and later Chesterbrook, a retired electrical engineer, died Monday, July 20, of complications from a heart procedure at Capital Health Medical Center, near Trenton. He had moved to New Jersey to be closer to his family. Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Martorana grew up near Ninth and Dickinson Streets and graduated from Pennsylvania Military College, now Widener University. He earned a bachelor of science degree in engineering. That training prepared him for a 35-year career at Radio Corp.