It is with sadness that Henneman Engineering announces the passing of its founder, Ralph J. Henneman Jr. Ralph passed away July 31 at the age of 96.
Ralph was born in 1927 and grew up in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and graduated from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1949. He was a proud University of Illinois alumnus, working as an adjunct professor of engineering from 1969-77 and serving as President of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Alumni Board of Directors from 1987-88. He was honored with several awards from the University throughout the years, including the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Ralph was also a generous donor to the University and established a scholarship for engineering students, the “Henneman Scholarship Fund.”
After graduating, Ralph worked for a Chicago architecture/engineering firm for a short time before he was recruited back to the University of Illinois to work as an electrical engineer for the Physical Plant Department and the University Campus Architect’s Office.
In 1961, Ralph founded Carroll Henneman and Associates, Inc. with his partner Raymond Carroll. Over the years, the company operated under a handful of different names before transitioning to today’s Henneman Engineering Inc. in 2003. While working as the lead electrical engineer for the company, Ralph also served as Henneman’s President and Chairman of the Board. He stepped down as President in 1992 and his son, Michael, became President. Ralph continued to work as an electrical engineer on projects for many years afterwards. Ralph and Michael worked alongside each other as electrical engineers for 47 years.
Ralph was a driven man and incredibly hard working. He was always so proud of the company he built and the employees that make up the firm. He was a wonderful mentor, friend, business partner and family patriarch—he will be greatly missed.