A Tribute to Professor G. V. Loganathan (Editorial)

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A Tribute to Professor G. V. Loganathan (Editorial)

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<b>EDITORIAL

A Tribute to Professor G. V. Loganathan</b>

Arun K. Deb, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE
Vice President (Ret.), Weston Solutions, Inc. E-mail: arundeb@msn.com

April 16, 2007 started like any other day on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. Dr. G. V. Loganathan, a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Virginia Tech left his home near the campus to teach a graduate class on Advanced Hydrology in room number 206 of Norris Hall. He never returned home. Loganathan, along with nine of his students, was killed by a gunman. It was the worst massacre on a university campus in the history of the United States. Very soon, the news started to flash on TV screens. I became concerned as I know quite a few faculty members at Virginia Tech, but never expected one of my dearest friends to be among the victims. I was stunned when I saw Prof. Loganathan&#39;s name on TV as one of the victims. I barely got over the shock when I received a call from one of my friends confirming the news. I opened my e-mail to see several messages in this regard. That is one dreadful day I will never forget in my life.

Dr. G. V. Loganathan was born in 1954, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. He completed his Bachelor of Engineering at Madras University, India in 1976. He earned his Master of Technology at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and received his PhD from Purdue University. In 1981, Dr. Loganathan joined Virginia Tech to conduct research and teach in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. He focused his research in the areas of hydrology and hydraulic networks. It was about 20 years ago while attending an ASCE Conference of the Water Resources Planning and Management Division, that I first met Loganathan in the Water Resources Systems Committee meeting. After the meeting, he came up to me and expressed his interest in water distribution system analysis. At the time, he was a young faculty member at Virginia Tech, full of energy and enthusiasm. He discussed with me his current projects on water distribution system research and his plans for the future. I impressed upon him the need to do some practical research for water utility personnel to help solve real water distribution system problems. He expressed his sincere interest to work with me on some future projects. We soon became friends and communicated frequently. He always informed me when he had new ideas or started to work on a challenging project. Quite often, we shared brainstorming sessions. Soon, I became involved in conducting water distribution system research under the American Water Works Association Research Foundation AwwaRF grants.

In 1997, I had an opportunity to get Loganathan involved in one of my proposals on "<i>Prioritizing Water Main Replacement and Rehabilitation</i>" for AwwaRF. The success of that proposal was the beginning of a long working relationship with GV as he preferred to be called . He quickly became a part of our team. It was a complex project that involved Newland Agbenowski, a PhD student from Ghana working under the guidance of Loganathan. I, along with our project team, spent many weekend hours with him brainstorming and formulating the concept of development of a computer model. With the help of Loganathan and Newland, we developed guidance and methodologies for the collection of on-site real-time water main break field data and a modeling system incorporating these data to predict and prioritize candidate mains for rehabilitation/replacement. This model helps water utility managers assess the condition of water mains and develop strategies for long-term rehabilitation plans for their distribution systems.

In 1999, while working on the previous AwwaRF project, Loganathan and I prepared another successful proposal on "<i>Decision Support System for Distribution System Pipe Renewal</i>." In this project Loganathan, with help from one of his graduate students, developed decision support system software to evaluate and identify suitable water main renewal technologies available to water utilities for renewal of a specific water main. Technologies considered include both open-cut and trenchless. A cost module was also developed for comparative cost analysis. By this time, I had developed an excellent personal and working relationship with Loganathan. Also, I was fortunate to have his and Virginia Tech&#39;s help in developing a prioritized water main replacement program for the Saint Louis County Water Company now Missouri American Water Company . The Saint Louis County Water Company was experiencing a large number of cast-iron water main breaks. In this project Loganathan and his graduate student formulated a computer program to analyze a large amount of water main break data on a pipe-by-pipe basis. An economic model was developed that predicted water main breaks, estimated costs of main break repair, and compared that with the cost of a replacement pipe to identify the optimum time to replace a pipe. Using this software, we developed an optimum water main replacement program for the Saint Louis County Water Company.

In 2002, Loganathan and I had the opportunity to successfully submit another proposal on "<i>Criteria for Valve Location and System Reliability</i>" for the AwwaRF Loganathan and his PhD student Hwandon Jun, developed a software for the analysis of water distribution networks and a strategic valve management model to assist water utilities in developing a rationale for the proper location of valves and optimum valve and system reliability. This tool is suitable for water utilities to minimize impacts due to valve and pipe failures. A report on this project was published by AwwaRF in 2006. Loganathan prepared a paper entitled "Valve Distribution and Impact Analysis in Water Distribution Systems" which is included in this issue of the Journal. I am glad and proud to be associated with Loganathan&#39;s paper as a coauthor.

Loganathan&#39;s work was recognized by ASCE with the Wesley W. Horner Award in 1996 for his paper, "<i>Sizing Stormwater Detention Basins for Pollutant Removal</i>." He was an excellent teacher and earned the outstanding teaching award four times. He also received the Faculty Achievement Award for Excellence in Civil Engineering Education. He was a very active member of ASCE and served as Associate Editor of the <i>Journal of Hydrologic Engineering</i> specializing in the area of stochastic hydrology. He also served in the Water Resources Systems Committee, Trenchless Installation of Pipeline Committee, and acted as Vice Chair of the Operations Management Committee of ASCE. He supervised more than 45 graduate students during his tenure at Virginia Tech. Students adored him. One student wrote in his memorial, "I regret not telling you that you are the best teacher I ever had." Another student wrote in his memorial posting, "Dr. Loganathan was an excellent teacher and mentor. I will always remember him for his kind heart and patience he displayed towards me and his other students." Jerry Snyder, a colleague of mine and a member of ASCE posted, "He was a dedicated professor and researcher and the most gentleman that I have ever known. I can only hope to live my life with purpose and humanity in the same manner as GV. It was a privilege to know him." Loganathan is survived by his wife, Usha and two daughters, Uma and Abhirami.

The President of the ruling Congress Party of India, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi sent her heartfelt condolences to his wife Usha.

During my long association with Loganathan, I found him a very polite, respectful, and humble man. In technical discussion, he respected opinions of all project team members, including his students. He always met deadlines, even if that meant working evenings and weekends. He was a complete gentleman. The last e-mail message I received from him was on April 9, 2007, exactly a week before his death. I will never forget him as long as I live. I express my sincere condolences to his family. Virginia Tech University has established an annual graduate fellowship in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department in memory of Loganathan. The best way to help continue his legacy is to contribute to this G. V. Loganathan Fellowship Fund by sending checks in favor of Virginia Tech Foundation with a memo to: G.V. Loganathan Fellowship at 902 Prices Fork Road, Suite 4000, Blacksburg, VA 24061.

I would like to thank Dr. Ray Ferrara for giving me the opportunity to write this editorial.

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Archived with permission of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Original Source: <i>Journal of Environmental Engineering</i> © ASCE / August 2007

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2007-08-13

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Brent Jesiek, "A Tribute to Professor G. V. Loganathan (Editorial)," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1017, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/1017 (accessed July 14, 2014).