Preeminent Alaskan Civil Engineer Korynta Dies at 74

Earl Korynta, a former president of the Alaska Section who helped launch USKH, a former top 500 architecture-engineering-surveying firm now part of Stantec, has died at 74.

Korynta, P.E., M.ASCE, began his career as a bridge and highway engineer in Los Angeles, but moved to Alaska in 1965 after the North Dakota native decided he was more comfortable in a smaller, less-crowded city and state. After a stint as an airport engineer with the Alaska Department of Transportation, he moved on to an environmental engineering firm, Dickinson, Oswald, Walch, and Lee.

After co-founding USKH in 1972, Korynta served as president from 1993 to 2003. He was involved in the design of airports, cargo ports, railyards, housing developments, schools, and subdivisions. Growing from 15 to 130-plus employees, USKH rose to one of Engineering News-Record’s top 500 design firms, and was acquired by Stantec in 2014. Although he technically retired with the sale of USKH, he continued to help with projects until his passing.

ASCE’s Alaska Section named him Alaska Engineer of the Year in 1980, and the following year he served as Section president. He remained active with ASCE as a member of the TDI Aviation Planning and Operations Committee.

Korynta was a founder and first president of the Alaska Professional Design Council. In 2017, he received ENR Northwest’s Legacy Award.

Throughout his career, Korynta was known as a talented, dedicated engineer and leader who guided his staff with compassion. “Civil engineering has been good to me,” he liked to say, and in reply, his peers often said, “Earl was good for civil engineering!”


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