A Tribute From CCI – Bruce Tschantz and B. Ray Thompson, Jr

Bruce Tschantz, PhD PE

Bruce Tschantz, PhD, PE – Professor Emeritus and a remarkable mentor, teacher and friend to us – died peacefully of complications from cancer on June 28, 2017. Dr. Tschantz (as he will always be known to the CCI family) influenced more students in the area of Environmental and Water Resources under Civil Engineering at the University of Tennessee than many may ever know; many of whom have become leaders in numerous Engineering and Construction firms, as well as experts in the storm water arena.

Few know the public impacts he had on the practice of storm water management, and specifically dam safety. In 1970, he worked to establish Tennessee’s first dam safety policy, leading him to become the Nation’s first Chief of Federal Dam Safety in 1980. Throughout his carrier, his focus was on the public’s health safety and welfare as best reflected in a Knoxville News-Sentinel article he was featured regarding the dangers of low-head dams in our State …11 days before his death.

We began this by saying the teacher, mentor and friend that he was to us; those words are not used lightly. In the midst of his ability to bring the technical elements of our profession into practical situations, it was his insight and character that served as the foundation for his expertise. And it is that very foundation that we have worked hard to reflect in the way we do business …individually, and as a firm. 

     B.Ray Thompson, Jr.

The very next day, we lost someone we consider a ’second Dad’ – B. Ray Thompson, Jr; a man who is known for his deep-rooted humility, and in the midst of that humility, giving ‘ beyond measure’ to those less fortunate.  He is also one who was the first mentor and advisor of Cannon & Cannon when CCI was merely a dream. 

Mr. Thompson died suddenly of a stroke on that Thursday, June 28. His ‘giving back’ is well known throughout the southeast region, and there is no question that his wisdom and insight influenced so many individuals, outreaches and businesses throughout the years. 

That truly is the case for CCI; many of his thoughts, comments and guiding principles are still contained in our “Start-up Notebook” that he encouraged well over 22 years ago. It was indeed a privilege to walk beside him – as well as the Thompson family itself -as our friend and mentor; he will be greatly missed.

Mr. Thompson’s (as he will also always be known to us) passion in his last days reflected his life …caring for the under-served children of Southern Appalachia. Most importantly, his example of living out Jesus first, family second, and giving back to those in need were constant reminders – and examples – to Angie and Harold throughout their marriage, and indeed the firm’s story. 

Our hearts and prayers go out to Dr. Tschantz’s wife of 54 years – Penny – and the Tschantz family; as well as Mr. Thompson’s wife of 63 years – Juanne – and the Thompson family. For those of us who knew them and to those who have taken the time to read this, may we all seek to carry forward the legacy that these men began. That is, in our humble opinion, the best tribute that we have to offer.