Skip to content

2009 Hall of Fame Inductee: Ralph Modjeski

Ralph Modjeski, founder of Modjeski and Masters, Inc., was born in Poland and was educated in France where he graduated in 1885 at the top of his class with a Civil Engineering degree. He first considered a career as an accomplished concert pianist before deciding that engineering would be his life work. In the early years of Ralph Modjeski’s career, there were few proven rules concerning bridge engineering. Instead, engineers relied on their imagination, engineering skills and intuition. Few of the bridge pioneers had more imagination, skill, intuition, and outright courage than Ralph Modjeski.

After several years as an assistant engineer to Geo. W. Morison, in 1893, Modjeski began his first project as a Chief Engineer for the Chicago Rock Island & Pacific Railway Company to design a double track railroad and highway bridge over the Mississippi River at Rock Island, Illinois. In 1908, he was selected to be the Chairman of the Board of Engineers for the final reconstruction of the double track rail and highway QuebecBridge over the St. Lawrence River. Many of his innovative ideas helped make this the longest bridge of its type in the world. During his distinguished career, he served as chief or consulting engineer on dozens of major bridge projects throughout the country, including several major structures in the DelawareValley region.