It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our former President, Dr. Raymond Benson on October 12th at the age of 84.
Raymond Philip Benson was born in rural Saskatchewan on December 1, 1935, the seventh of ten children. He obtained his B.Sc. in civil engineering from the University of Alberta. He joined the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) where he worked on the Gardiner Dam, not far from where he had spent his early childhood. Following his stint at the PFRA, Ray spent several years with International Power and Engineering Consultants Ltd., a subsidiary of the newly minted BC Hydro and Power Authority. There he worked as a field engineer, on site investigations and monitoring the construction of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam on the Peace River in British Columbia, before deciding to complete a PhD at the University of Illinois in the United States. In 1976 he joined Klohn Leonoff, where he would rise to the top post and become the company’s third President, following Charles Ripley and Earle Klohn.
Ray continued to work on hydroelectric projects, but his interest and expertise in tunnels and underground plants, such as powerhouses, became the hallmark of his career. Ray is best known for resolving tunnelling problems in a variety of soft ground and rock; pressure tunnels and high-pressure penstocks and underground powerhouses in over 20 countries. His signature project is a giant hydro power development at Churchill Falls, Labrador. His keynote paper on Design of Unlined and Lined Pressure Tunnels has been referenced globally since its publication in 1986.
In considering his own career, Ray had no doubts whatsoever:
“I have chosen absolutely the right career for myself. I never have had a moment’s thought that I am in the wrong career – ever. I just love civil engineering. I love consulting engineering. I am one of the blessed people, actually.”
Ray Benson is remembered fondly at Klohn Crippen Berger, not only for his exemplary technical and business leadership, but also for calmness, consideration for others, and his enthusiasm for his profession and our Company. He was a great engineer and an outstanding personality – he will be missed by many.