Member Login Menu

In Memoriam: Joe Kaplan

Friday, May 11, 2018

featured image
May 18, 1925-February 28, 2018

For many years, Joseph Kaplan, P.E., F.ASCE, was at the heart of ASCE's construction activities, and he was still active with the Construction Institute until he died in February. He served as Chair, Executive Committee of the Construction Division (predecessor to the Construction Institute) and was a key individual in the transition to CI. Kaplan was a founding member of several ASCE committees and activities, including Social and Environmental Concerns in Construction, Crane Safety on Construction Sites, Construction Site Safety, and the Task Committee on Small Business in the Construction Industry. He assisted with the planning of CI's first Student Days event in San Francisco in 2008, and, more recently, contributed to the establishment of San Francisco's CI chapter.

Kaplan also served as co-editor on CI/SEI's award-winning Practice Periodical on Structural Design and Construction and co‐editor on CI's Crane Safety on Construction Sites manual of practice, published in 1998. He was a full participant in the development of and the initial approval of Policy Statements No. 424, Crane Safety on Construction Sites and 350, Construction Site Safety . Kaplan was a strong advocate for ASCE to encourage in its policy statements the inclusion of crane and construction safety courses in colleges and universities. 

Kaplan was an active participant in the safety committee's review and CI's vote on standards produced by the ANSI A-10 Standards Committee on Construction and Demolition. He supplied an experienced and practical outlook to this important review. His decades of experience also informed his work as an expert witness and as an arbitrator under the American Arbitration Association and the California Construction Arbitration Panel, as well as his service an educator lecturing with the American Arbitration Association. 

In 2009, Kaplan received the highest award given to a Life Member for the California ASCE Section, and in 2015 he received the award for Outstanding Engineer in Legislative Activities in the State of California. 

He was the founder and President of Joseph Kaplan, Inc., a general contractor in heavy, infrastructure, marine, industrial, residential and commercial work. As a small businessman and contractor, he was also a strong advocate of the small contractor and small business in construction; particularly in the area of safety, as the small firms have the most difficulty in establishing successful safety programs. 

Kaplan received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He is licensed both as a Professional Engineer and a General Building Contractor in California. He was also a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), the California Society of Professional Engineers, the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE), Associated Builders and Contractors, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, a Trustee of the Construction Industry Advancement Fund and an Associate Member of the American Bar Association Construction Industry Forum.

Kaplan is survived by his children, David, Lori, Tom and Dan, and his ten grandchildren, as well as long‐time partner Jean Pressey. 

We are grateful for Kaplan's many contributions to ASCE and the construction industry. He will be greatly missed by the members of CI.