Obituary - Robert J. Jenny 1932 - 2008



Robert J. Jenny 1932-2008

Robert J. Jenny 1932-2008
For his entire career, Bob Jenny was dedicated to tunneling. Through his working life and to just weeks before he died on February 23 at age 76, Bob not only witnessed but contributed also to significant progress towards safer and more cost effective design and excavation of tunnels and underground space.
After founding his own consulting engineering firm in 1965, Bob and his company, Jenny Engineering Corporation of Springfield, New Jersey, were involved in various ways on many leading projects world-wide, from China and Asia to the UK and across the USA.
In 1983 the firm worked in a design-build collaboration with Traylor Bros of Evansville, Indiana, to design the running tunnels associated with the defining Orchard Boulevard Station and Tunnels contract for the Singapore metro and consulted on the construction of the Shanxi Wanjiazhai Yellow River Diversion Project in China and on the design of the undersea crossover cavern for the UK side of the Channel Tunnel.
In the United States, the company designed tunnels, shafts, substations and underground structures on 26 tunnel sections of the Washington Metro and Bob served as project director for geotechnical engineering and construction management contracts for New York's City Water Tunnel No. 3.
Bob was a great friend and supporter of the tunnelling trade press and was always ready to share his knowledge, experience, and information with reporters.
Bob and Jenny Engineering pioneered the use of innovative tunneling techniques in the USA introducing in 1970 the first fully encapsulated epoxy resin ground support dowels for tunnels in the USA and in 1992 joined the pioneering effort to introduce NATM (New Austrian Tunneling Method) in soft ground for underground stations and tunnels in the USA.
From graduating with a BSc degree in Civil Engineering from the Newark College of Engineering, NJIT, and an MSc in Civil Engineering with specialization in geotechnical engineering, Bob was a licensed Professional Engineer in 36 States in the USA, and Canada, a land surveyor in New York and New Jersey, and a licensed professional planner in New Jersey.
As well as lecturing widely, Bob co-authored two books on 'Tunneling-The State of the Art' and 'Tunneling-The State of the Industry'. He was named 1993 Engineer of the Year by the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) and in 1988 the New Jersey Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Recently he accepted appointment to the NJIT Board of Overseers and was always a regular at the US tunneling conferences.
Bob was a decorated army veteran of the Korean War and was an active volunteer and officer in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. He is survived by his wife Marcelline, son Mathew, daughter Barbara Rita and four grandchildren and is missed by the team at Jenny Engineering and tunnellers on the international stage.