A Tribute to Philip F. Frandina, PE, LS


This post was written by NYSSPE Executive Director Anthony Fasano, P.E.

The New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE) recently lost one of our life members, Philip F. Frandina, PE, LS who passed away in February.  Philip was the Past President of the Erie-Niagara Chapter and a retired Erie County Public Works Commissioner.  I asked Philip’s family to send us an obituary that highlighted some of his accomplishments with the NYSSPE that we could share with our members as a tribute to Philip.  On behalf of the NYSSPE we thank Philip Frandina and his family for all of their contributions to the NYSSPE, the engineering industry, and the public.  We share the following obituary from his family:

Philip F. Frandina, PE, LS

June 4, 1928-February 26, 2013

Philip FrandinaPhilip F. Frandina, PE, LS, one of Western New York’s most prominent members of the Professional Engineering and Land Surveying community passed away on February 26, 2013 after a short illness. He was 84 years old.

The oldest of 7 children, Philip got an early start in construction. His father, upon emigrating from Sicily, became a concrete contractor and all 5 of his sons were expected to help in the family business. In 1956, after working several construction jobs, Phil began working toward an engineering degree at the University of Buffalo’s Millard Fillmore College. While attending night school for 8 years, he worked days in such jobs as a welder, a City of Buffalo Engineering Inspector, and an Erie County Highway Department Engineering Assistant. In 1964, he proudly received his BS degree in Civil Engineering.

Phil worked his way up the ranks and held all of the engineering titles in the Erie County Department of Public Works, including Commissioner of Public Works from 1982-1988.

Upon retiring as Public Works Commissioner after 30 years of outstanding public service, he joined his son, Joseph, in the family’s consulting engineering and land surveying firm, Frandina Engineering. When Joe joined the staff of the NFL Buffalo Bills, Phil continued to operate Frandina Engineering.  He was a highly regarded Structural Engineer, bridge designer, and arbitrator in construction disputes. In recent years, he shared offices with his daughter, Rosanne Frandina, who owns Frandina Engineering and Land Surveying, PC.  His grandson, Tim Van Oss, is the 3rd generation Frandina working at the company while studying Civil Engineering at the University of Buffalo.  Phil was still working until 2 months prior to his death.

The Frandina Family has a dynasty within the Erie Niagara Chapter NYSSPE.  Over the years, Phil served as Chairman of several committees and was elected President in 1983-84. During his tenure, the chapter won the MAC award – for Most Active Chapter. He was on the committee to bring the National NSPE convention to Buffalo in 1985.  He was selected as the “Engineer of the Year” in 1987. He was also awarded the Basinski-Wohler Distinguished Service Award in 1995 and the State Meritorious Service Award in 1996. He also served as the Area 5 Vice President of NYSSPE.

Perhaps his greatest contribution is that his 3 children and nephew are Past Presidents of the Erie-Niagara Chapter NYSSPE:

  • 1988-89           Frank Frandina, PE
  • 1993-94           Joseph S. Frandina, PE
  • 1998-99           Rosanne Frandina, PE, LS
  • 2001-03           Nephew, John Frandina, PE

Phil was also active in several other Engineering organizations. He served as president of the Technical Societies Council and the Buffalo section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Phil founded the local chapter of the Association for Bridge Construction and Design and served as its first president in 1998. The state chapter of the American Public Works Association named him one of the Top Ten Public Works Officials in 1998.

His legacy is in those who were inspired to follow in his Engineering profession. In 2001, Phil and his 3 children, all licensed Professional Civil Engineers and graduates of UB, were named the Engineers of the Year by the University of Buffalo Engineering Alumni Association.  He volunteered to mentor his grandsons’ Future Cities teams for 2 years. Both years, the teams were finalists and won awards for “Best Engineering model.”  He also assisted his grandsons’ Eagle Scout projects, including designing and building a shelter for the animals at the Buffalo Zoo.

He was licensed as a Professional Engineer in New York and Pennsylvania. He also held a New York State license in Land Surveying.

His hobbies included gardening, painting and music.  He cherished sharing jokes and playing his accordion with his family at Sunday dinners, both at home and at his summer cottage on Lake Ontario in Wilson, NY.

He was pre-deceased by his first wife, Josephine, who died in 1983 on their 33rd anniversary. He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Mary Lou; two sons, Frank and Joseph; a daughter, Rosanne, 9 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

Contributions can be made to the Philip Frandina Scholarship Fund to benefit the Association for Bridge Design and Construction (ABCD) c/o Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, 726 Exchange St, Suite 525, Buffalo NY 14210 or Buffalo Hospice.

Note: NYSSPE facilitates posting on this blog, but the views and accounts expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not the views or accounts of NYSSPE, its officers or directors whose views and accounts may or may not be similar or identical.  NYSSPE, its officers and directors do not express any opinion regarding any product or service by virtue of reference to such product or service in this blog.

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