Monthly magazine of the Federation of NOT Scientific and Technical Associations

30th edition of the Golden Engineer poll

Polish footprint in Alaska

FSNT-NOT has been working closely with Polish engineering organizations in both Europe and America for years. In addition to organizing the World Congresses of Polish Engineers (the last one in June 2022 in Gliwice), we try to make sure that colleagues from abroad participate in events in the country, and our representatives take part in ceremonies and conferences organized by Polish associations.

Such was the case, among others. Unveiling of a monument commemorating Eng. Rudolf Modrzejewski, an outstanding builder[1]of many bridges in America. The ceremony was held[1]on July 15, 2023. In Nenana on the Tanana River. Colleagues from the Council of Polish Engineers in North America. claim a well-known saying in the US, “Nenana is a small town where big things happen.”

Nenana, located a few dozen miles south of Fairbanks, Alaska, was built between 1915 and 1920, when the railroad connecting Fairbanks to Seward on the Pacific Ocean coast was being constructed. The last link in this railroad line was the Modrzejewski Bridge. On this occasion, President William Harding came to Alaska, it was the first visit of an American president to Alaska. July 15, 1923. The president hammered the rally nail on the bridge’s northern abutment.

Modrzejewski board (from left: Michael Britt – president of Modjeski & Masters, Sylwia Stawski – Modjeski & Masters and Prof. Maria Kaszynska – president of PZiTB).

A large group of Polish engineers attended the unveiling of the monument. Among those present were Prof. Ph. Eng. Jerzy Lis – rector of the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow, prof. Ph. Eng. Rafal wiśniowski – pro-rector of AGH, prof. Ph. Eng. Maria Kaszyńska – president of the Polish Association of Construction Engineers and Technicians. Marek Gotowski, the founder of the memorial plaque, along with his wife and daughter, came from Bydgoszcz. Present were a group of engineers representing the Council of Polish Engineers of North America, with President Prof. Andrew Nowak.

The plaque was unveiled by Nenana Mayor Josh Verhagen along with Michael Britt – CEO of Modjeski & Masters, Mark Gotowski and Andrzej Nowak. This was a major and important event in Nenana. Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, Senators Dan Sullivan and Scott Kawasaki and the Alaska Railroad administration were present. A nice highlight of our visit to Nenana was the fact that the entire Polish group was very friendly and warmly welcomed by the people of Nenana. There was a lot of interest in the person of Modrzejewski.

A model of the Modjeski Bridge made by Modjeski & Masters was welded to a metal plate with the outlines of the state of Alaska, all placed on a concrete block; this section of the monument was made by the city of Nenana

Jan S. Plachta

Photo: Andrzej Pawlusiewicz