Issam “Sam” Minkarah, professor emeritus of civil engineering in construction management at the University of Cincinnati, has died. He was 90.
Not even building the first highway in the United Arab Emirates could approach his love for the students he taught over his career, as well as his delight in those he mentored. His greatest joy was spent in his research with them as they looked toward the future of construction management.
Minkarah, Ph.D., M.ASCE, came to the United States from Beirut, Lebanon, to earn his master of science and Ph.D. degrees, both in civil engineering, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. While there, he taught at RPI and designed bridges for the State of New York. Returning then to the Middle East, he worked for the CAT Company, a premier construction and trading group, leading construction projects in Sudan, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai as well as the highway project for the UAE.
After seven years of primarily building roads and bridges, he felt fulfilled on that front and was happy to join the faculty of the University of Cincinnati as a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He taught and directed research projects for 29 years, sharing his practical knowledge with his students and proudly becoming an American citizen.
Minkarah also spent a year as an adjunct professor at the University of Khartoum and a year at Purdue University’s College of Engineering, in Indiana.
He was an active Life Member of ASCE, and involved in the committees dealing with construction management. He also applied his guiding hand to editing a special issue of the Journal of Management in Engineering in 2012, as he had been an associate editor of that journal in 2008.
He loved spending time with family, and he and his wife traveled extensively over the years, visiting much of Europe, Russia, South America, China, and, of course, the Middle East. Being a lover of classical music and opera, Minkarah held subscription tickets to the Cincinnati Opera, the Linton Chamber Music Series, and the Cincinnati Symphony for many years.