Edward J. D’Alba—one of three original founders of Philadelphia-based Urban Engineers Inc.—died on July 1. He was 91.
Known as EJ, D’Alba retired in 1999 as a senior vice president, a post he held for 20 years. He worked on notable projects such as the New York State Thruway, the Garden State Parkway, the New Jersey Turnpike, the Center City Commuter Tunnel in Philadelphia and the Phase IIA Expansion program at Philadelphia International Airport. He also specialized in bridge design.
William Thomsen, a senior vice president and the chief operating officer at the firm, called D’Alba “a determined quiet leader.” Thomsen also said that D’Alba “taught us the discipline needed for our professional practice, and the need for creativity to excel in everything we do for our clients.”
Among the many employees D’Alba mentored at the firm was his nephew, Edward M. D’Alba, who led the firm for 26 years before retiring in 2016.
The elder D’Alba founded the firm with Robert C. Olson and K. Yervant Terzian in 1960. Four other employees from Lawrence T. Beck & Associates worked for them when the firm was launched. Today, the employee-owned firm has 450 employees and 15 offices in eight states.
A Navy veteran, D’Alba witnessed the destruction of the bombings that ended Word War II while aboard the first ship that landed in Wakayama and Nagoya in Japan, according to a remembrance on Urban Engineers's website.
D’Alba’s wife Carolyn predeceased him in 1991. He is survived by several nephews, nieces, grandnephews and grandnieces.