Sat | Dec 2, 2023

Walk good, engineers!

Published:Thursday | June 30, 2022 | 12:08 AM


In the past month, we lost two stalwarts of the engineering fraternity – Jonathan F.K. Earle, PhD, and Basil G.A. Nelson. They are truly the definition of gentlemen, but more so two engineers whose contributions to Jamaica and engineering are immeasurable. In the field of electrical engineering, the name Basil Nelson is almost a standard within itself. Dr Earle’s contribution in the early days to the water and waste water sector is well known, as well as his later years in academia.

I met both men in the latter part of their careers, but at a time when their influence on a young and upcoming engineer was tremendous. As my faculty adviser at the University of Florida, Dr Earle was always there to provide an encouraging word or strategy to succeed.

Whenever a difficulty presented itself, he would always say, ‘one day you are going to laugh about this’.

Basil always had a smile on his face. I would ask him about it, and he would lecture me on life balance, work, family, faith and recreation. It’s interesting to me that both men headed engineering firms of their own names. It says a lot about the era they came up in, but to me it says a lot more about integrity and putting your own name behind a product, and the will to risk your own name in making a recommendation to a client. In today’s corporate world, these are practices that are rarely found.

While I am sure that many tributes will be made, it would be remiss of me not to say a word of personal gratitude and commendation to these fine examples of patriotic Jamaicans. Walk good, engineers, you will be missed.


Former President

Jamaica Institution of

Engineers (JIE)

Chairman, Professional

Engineers Registration

Board (PERB)