Charles A. “Charlie” Parthum, ASCE 1996 president who helped oversee the Society’s headquarters move to northern Virginia, has died. He was 92.
His success at the consulting engineering firm of Camp, Dresser & McKee in Boston was notable from his career start in 1951 until his 2001 retirement, interrupted only by U.S. Navy service during the Korean War.
Parthum, P.E., Pres.96.ASCE, became a partner, senior vice president, and director of CDM, working with many states and municipals in water and wastewater improvements in the New England states and beyond. At one time he was licensed in 17 states.
As ASCE’s 1996 president, Parthum’s term coincided with the transition of the Society’s headquarters from New York City to northern Virginia. He aided in the logistics of the move and led the ASCE Foundation’s fundraising campaign to prepare the facility. Also during his presidency, he was eager to visit as many ASCE student chapters as he could, providing career advice around three words: “planning,” “opportunity,” and “luck.”
He served for several years on the ASCE Board of Direction, first as a director of the former District 2 from 1988 to 1990, then as treasurer from 1993 to 1994. In 1975-76 he served as president of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section. He received the ASCE William H. Wisely American Civil Engineer Award in 1993.
Parthum was named outstanding civil engineer in 1989 by Northeastern University, his alma mater. He received the Engineering Leadership Award by the Mass Council of Engineering Companies in 2001.
He was a lecturer as an engineer-in-residence at the University of Vermont, University of Mass Amherst, and Ohio State, and a member and chair of the Engineers Joint Contract Document Committee for years.
Parthum was also a life member of the American Council of Engineering Companies and the New England Water Works Association.
He served in a variety of leadership positions at Tabernacle Congregational Church in Salem, New Hampshire, and loved the outdoors, especially sailing on New Hampshire lakes.