Carlo Dinardo was the eldest of nine children born to Nicandro and Rosaria in Italy on 5 July 1939, two months before the outbreak of World War II. His village of Ceppagna was barely 20 miles from Monte Cassino, where between January and May 1944, the Allies conducted a major strategic battle to clear the way to Rome. His early childhood was clearly touched by warfare, and it was perhaps what he saw at that time that persuaded him to declare at the age of five that he wished to be an engineer. This bold ambition was neither early nor easy in attainment. That was to change abruptly at the age of 11, when his father’s brother, living in Scotland, invited them to travel there to help him work in Askey’s ice cream wafer factory. This was the largest such factory in Scotland, based in Airdrie, and Carlo and his mother together, with his then two siblings, began the long journey to Airdrie to begin a new life there in 1950.

This was a dramatic change from life in rural Italy, to life in post-war austerity North Lanarkshire. But there was family, there was employment for his father, and a new school for Carlo was Saint Patrick’s in neighbouring Coatbridge where Carlo did well, and led to attendance next at Coatbridge Technical College, opening up the path to engineering for the young Carlo. His ability won him a short one-year mechanical engineering traineeship in London between 1954-55, and gained him his first real engineering job with the firm of “Square Grip” its office based in Park Circus in Glasgow. This offered him training in structural and civil engineering, his preferred disciplines. He then quickly complemented this by undertaking evening classes in mathematics at the Andersonian Institution, which later became part of Strathclyde University in 1964.

Carlo was then 18, and it was in Park Circus that he met Irene Niven from Helensburgh, also aged 18, and who was to become his wife. Carlo embarked on a five-year courtship of Irene on his Lambretta Scooter, travelling regularly between Airdrie and Helensburgh. They married in 1962 at Saint Aloysius church in Glasgow, setting up home in Bearsden.

3 years later in 1965, Carlo had qualified as a Chartered Engineer in both civil and structural disciplines. The realisation of his long ambition was now well underway.

This was the beginning of a rapidly expanding career based on Carlo’s ability, ambition, and hard work, together with support provided by his new wife. A new home was also begun in Bearsden, and later to Killearn. Carlo set up his consultancy business, Dinardo Partnership, in 1969, first in Park Circus then moving in 1973 to Paisley. This business expansion coincided with a happy family extension. Irene and Carlo’s first daughter Karen was born in 1965. She like her younger brother Mark followed their father into the family business, Karen also following in his footsteps to become, in 2016, the first female President of the what was then IESIS - the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland (now the Institution of Engineers in Scotland). Only their younger daughter, Lorraine, did not enter the family businesses, pursuing instead a medical career. Carlo was also a very proud and devoted grandfather to Keir an engineering graduate and Zoe a medical student.

Success bred yet more success. In 1976, at the early age of 37, Carlo became a Fellow of both the Civil & Structural Engineering Institutions. In parallel his business spread to offices throughout Scotland and also to London and Bristol, this reflecting his wide-ranging interests in structural & civil engineering projects. These included contracts related to motorways, bridges, office buildings and hotels. In addition, his consultancy business also spread into conservation projects notably at Fort George, and in bridge design. His design for Float-Out Bridges attracted design awards, and was patented. Overseas ventures also met with considerable success in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Nigeria.

While Carlo was first and foremost a family man, his energy and outgoing temperament also saw him unsurprisingly active in the major engineering institutions. Not the least of these was his involvement in IESIS. He was a long serving member on the Council of IESIS, then Vice President followed by President between 1999 and 2001. He was the President who helped organise the production of the Millennium Commemorative Volume, ”MIRROR OF HISTORY“ produced by IESIS and published in the year 2000. He also wrote the Foreword to this volume of selected papers illustrating some of the important scientific discoveries and engineering developments during the last hundred years.

In addition to his professional interests, he took his civic responsibilities very seriously. He was a member of the Trades House and of the Incorporation of Cordiners, and the Glasgow and Paisley Hammermen. He was also a patron of the arts annually supporting the Glasgow Art Exhibition at the McLellan galleries. He was in addition a member of the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts and of the Paisley Art Institute, and when time permitted, he indulged in painting as a hobby. He also had a long and keen interest in education and was a Westbourne School governor. For relaxation he was above all a keen golfer. He was a member of Buchanan Castle, Glasgow Golf Club, Royal Aberdeen and Meadow Oaks in Florida. He loved holidaying and playing there as he did in Barga. He and Irene had only just returned from Florida when sadly he suffered an aneurysm and died in hospital in Glasgow on the day after his 83rd birthday. He was a distinguished and successful engineer and a man of warm friendships. He is greatly missed.

Tony Slaven

Posted in Opinion

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