Constantine “Taki” Papadakis, a civil engineer and construction firm manager who served as president of Drexel University in Philadelphia since 1995, died unexpectedly on April 5 at age 63. The university attributes his death to pulmonary complications.

Papadakis joined Drexel at a time when its enrollment, physical plant and bottom line had sunk to new depths. During his presidency, the university experienced an academic and financial reinvigoration. Papadakis “famously insisted on measurable goals for his managers,” says the university, adding that he was one of higher education’s longest-serving presidents. Replacing Papadakis as interim president is Charles R. Pennoni, Drexel board chairman and chairman of Pennoni Associates Inc., a Philadelphia engineering firm. Papadakis’ presidency followed a 20-year industry management career that began at Bechtel Group Inc., and continued at STS Consultants and Tetra Tech.

James C. Alberts, 60, president and one of six founding principals of CASCO Diversified, a Saint Louis-based architect-engineer, died on March 4 in Saint Louis from complications of cancer.


Bob A. Darnell , a 40-year construction superintendent and manager on major commercial and industrial projects across the South, died on March 13. He was 82. Darnell retired from active management work in 1999, but had supervised projects for Beers Skanska, Barton Malow and Blount, among other contractors. He also is a former vice president at Laing Properties and McDevitt & Street. Darnell was hired by NBC as owner’s representative to manage construction of its Olympic Broadcast Center for Atlanta’s 1996 Olympic Games.


John L. Tanner III, founding partner of Dallas structural engineering firm Ellisor & Tanner, which later became the local office of New York City-based Thornton Tomasetti Inc., died on Feb. 17, at 79. Tanner designed structural systems for high-rise and mixed-use commercial projects in the U.S. and abroad during a 50-year career. The firm pioneered use of stub girders and other technical innovations. Tanner founded Ellisor & Tanner with college classmate Elmer Ellisor in 1967. Thornton Tomasetti acquired the firm in 1997, and Tanner retired two years later.