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Tony Fitzpatrick does not deserve brickbats

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Letters

I read your report about Tony Fitzpatrick's move to the US in (AJ 22.3.01) with considerable dismay. I hope Tony will treat these stories with the contempt they deserve.

Tony is one of the finest engineers to have graced Arup's portals. He is also a genuine and decent human being whose integrity is a shining example to his peers and to those he leads.

His involvement with the Millennium Bridge is wholly involuntary.He had no part in its concept, its detailed design or its execution. His was the unfortunate lot to deal with the problems which surfaced after its completion. The fact that these problems were not properly understood by the profession is now in the public domain, even if it is not headline-making material.

Tony's part in leading the team which carried out the necessary research both inside and outside Arup needs to be made known to the public at large. He led this team brilliantly, with his customary zeal and infectious enthusiasm. He is making the results of this research known to bodies responsible for Standards and Codes of Practice both here and abroad, research which will enable practitioners worldwide to avoid similar problems.

His task was not made easier by the glare of publicity and uninformed criticism by leading practitioners who should know better.

I hope Tony will not allow this hurtful innuendo to dampen his zest and enthusiasm, qualities which enrich his staff and colleagues. Arup America will benefit hugely by his career move to the US, even if this loss to UK construction (hopefully temporary) is immense.

Sir Jack Zunz, former chairman, Ove Arup, London SE20

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