John E. Meyer, P.E., 1923-2013
January 7, 2013 – John (Jack) E. Meyer, P.E., founder of Meyer Borgman Johnson, passed away on January 2, 2013 at the age of 89. John touched the lives of many people, both professionally and personally and in many different ways. Here at MBJ, he was our leader, mentor, teacher, and friend. Our daily interactions with him showed us the soundness of acting with integrity and the benefits of meeting life with cheer and goodwill toward others. He encouraged us with his humor, generosity, and patience. His “door” was always open to us.
John grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, graduating from Marshall High School in 1941. In the fall of that year, he enrolled in the Institute of Technology at the University of Minnesota. His education was interrupted by military service between 1943 and 1946, but when he returned to civilian life, he resumed his education and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1947 with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering.
In 1955, John started his own firm. Partners Jack Borgman and Rollie Johnson subsequently joined him to form our present company, Meyer Borgman Johnson. John’s enthusiasm for structural engineering and the building industry, in general, was infectious. He knew people as well as he knew his craft and mentored many a young structural engineer or architect, bringing insight and clarity to the challenges of building design and project management.
During his career, John served as president of ASCE in Minnesota, president of the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers, officer of the Minnesota Association of Consulting Engineers (now ACEC/MN), president of the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology Alumni Society, and was a member of various building code committees.
John was the structural engineer of record for many notable projects in the Twin Cities area. His passion for restoration and adaptive reuse of historic structures led him to contribute immensely to the preservation of some of Minnesota’s most important landmarks. With his knowledge of historical structural practices and materials and his skill as a structural engineer, John helped reclaim many historically significant structures for the continued use and enjoyment of future generations. In 2008, he was recognized for these contributions by the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
A few of John’s landmark projects, both historic and new, include the Minnesota State Capitol, Landmark Center in St. Paul, Minneapolis City Hall, Fort Snelling Commandant’s House and Officers’ Quarters, the St. Paul World Trade Center, Loring Green Towers, and multiple projects at the University of Minnesota. The list is incredibly long!
Long after his “retirement” at age 80, John continued to show up regularly for work, taking on projects and mentoring staff. Anyone who worked on Saturdays eagerly waited for John to arrive with the donuts.
Although he accomplished so much in his lifetime, when praised for his many achievements, John was humble, self-effacing, and always eager to deflect the focus onto the contributions of others. He was a strong leader in the sense that he quite naturally elicited the cooperation of everyone with whom he worked.
We remember his youthful enthusiasm and energy at work and play. His memory continues to inspire us as professionals and, also, personally. Words cannot express how sorely we will miss John.