Structural Engineering Community Mourns the Loss of Dan Cuoco

Engineers around the world are mourning the loss of Dan Cuoco, former president and CEO of international engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti. He passed away on Sunday at the age of 68.
“Dan was a brilliant engineer and leader who made tremendous contributions to our firm’s growth as well as to the built environment around the world,” said Chairman & CEO Thomas Z. Scarangello, P.E., who succeeded Cuoco as CEO in 2011. “In his four decades with Thornton Tomasetti, Dan established new offices, launched innovative ventures, and helped us build preeminent structural engineering and investigation practices.”
Cuoco worked on some remarkable projects during his time at Thornton Tomasetti, including the firm's first high-rise building -- the steel-framed One Tampa City Center in Florida -- and numerous landmarks throughout the U.S.

"Dan was a savvy engineer and his contributions to the profession in his involvement in structural standards development will be missed," said Charlie Carter, AISC’s vice president and chief structural engineer.

Building collapse investigations became another specialty of Cuoco’s, and he helped lead the rescue/recovery operations during the L’Ambiance Plaza Building collapse in Bridgeport, Conn. in 1987. But it was the World Trade Center collapse on September 11, 2001 that Cuoco, on his retirement in 2011, identified as his most important project.

He led a team of Thornton Tomasetti executives and engineers who immediately responded to the scene after the collapse to oversee rescue efforts and clean-up operations in the unstable debris field. “It was challenging not only from a technical standpoint, but also an emotional one,” he would recall. “It wasn’t easy maintaining my composure and objectivity when making decisions on the job site 16 hours a day. I saved the emotional unraveling for when I was alone in my car driving to and from the site.”
Throughout his career, Cuoco served as a mentor to young engineers. He also helped establish Thornton Tomasetti as a world leader in structural design and an early adopter of emerging technologies such as building information modeling (BIM).
“Dan was a leader in times of prosperity and challenge,” added Scarangello. “His contributions to our firm and the engineering profession are too many to list, but will be celebrated and remembered forever. Our hearts go out to his wife, Dianne, his children and grandchildren, who were his greatest joy. Dan’s memory will inspire us to achieve great things.”