It’s been a long-standing tradition in our New York, Madison Avenue office to commemorate St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish coffee party. This year’s event, however, was more than just the wearing of the green and sampling Gaelic food and drink. It was also a celebration of the distinguished career of Master Modeler Jimmy Shiu, who after more than three decades with the firm retired at the end of last year.
“During his 33 years with Thornton Tomasetti, Jimmy has made significant contributions to our success,” Vice Chairman Dennis Poon said at the event attended by staff from both New York and our Newark offices. “He has been a valued member of the Pacific Rim team, and we thank him for his hard work and dedication. He will be missed.”
When Jimmy began at Thornton Tomasetti legacy firm Lev Zetlin Associates in 1983, there were fewer than 50 employees and only a handful of drafts people. “When I started, we were creating drawings with pencil,” Jimmy said. “We then moved into AutoCAD and now everything is in 3D. The industry kept changing and you have to keep up with new technologies.”
At the party, Dennis relayed a story about Jimmy’s strong work ethic. When the firm started work on Plaza 66 towers in Shanghai, its first supertall building in China, in 1997, the AutoCAD drawings issued to the owner had to use Chinese characters. At that time, Jimmy painstakingly created by hand a list of the most commonly used Chinese characters and then converted them into AutoCAD. “Jimmy was able to use his manual skills to overcome a technology barrier,” Dennis said.
With his sharp technical skills and eye for detail, Jimmy worked on some of the firm’s most challenging projects, everything from tall towers to sports stadiums, in the U.S. and around the globe. These include Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Shanghai Tower in China; MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey; the New York Times Building in New York City; and Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. At the party, he was presented with a book, created by Lorenzo Sanjuan and Charlie Palmer of the Marketing & Communications team, detailing his career with the firm.
Now that he is a man of leisure, Jimmy and his wife plan to travel the world. Their first stop will be Europe later this year. He was also presented with an American Express gift card and a Thornton Tomasetti supertall brochure, just in case he wants to add stops at all of those tall towers he worked on to his itinerary.
“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work at Thornton Tomasetti and on some amazing projects,” Jimmy said. “This truly is one of the best companies our industry.”
— Cynthia Hoffman, Editor
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