Death of President Paul BOURRIERES SOFIOM again in mourning
The General Engineer of Roads and Bridges Paul BOURRIERES (X 34 – P & C), who was in the 70s a very great President of the SOFIOM, just left us on October 4th, at the age of 104 years old.
Born June 10, 1914 in Paris, he was first apprentice fitter, trained to work at the file, before completing his secondary and preparatory high school Lakanal Sceaux. He joined the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique in 1934, followed by the no less prestigious Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, from which he graduated in 1939 as Engineer of the Ponts et Chaussées.
He spent most of his active career in and for the Equatorial countries, especially Black Africa: first in 1942 Head of the District of Transport in Côte d’Ivoire, in 1945 Director of Railways and Public Works Dahomey (now Benin) in 1947 Director of the Port of Dakar in Senegal from 1955 to 1972 andfinally CEO of BCEOM (Central Design Office for Facilities Overseas) and Director-Counsel and finally Administrator this organism. From 1958 to 1971 he was Chairman of the Advisory Council for the International Development of the Mekong; and from 1969 he also worked for Latin America (Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Brazil). Appointed General Engineer of Overseas Public Works in 1959, he was appointed General Engineer of the Ponts et Chaussées when he retired in 1974.
His activity did not stop there, since in addition to the Presidency of the SOFIOM he became Vice President then in 1973 President of the Society of Civil Engineers of France, and Member of the Academy of Sciences of Overseas .
Father of six children, he had the great grief of losing his wife in April 1990. He retired in the Basque Country Ciboure, where he spent his leisure in long walks … and learn the difficult Basque language (Euskara), while by closely following the development of electric vehicles (which he had once made the habit of driving one of the first models to go to BCEOM …).
President of SOFIOM from 1970 to 1977, he breathed a real renewal, developing his new statutes, approved by decree on August 29, 1970. He was the architect of an extraordinary development, integrating into leading personalities plan in his Honor Committee, with delegates in 42 countries and about 1800 members. He created a very effective Overseas Employment Exchange, at a time when the Internet was unknown, and the means of communication far from being as developed and effective as today: which allowed on the one hand to recapture many members of the SOFIOM, and on the other hand to bring in no less numerous candidates for expatriation.
He was the author of several books on the concrete techniques to be applied to the service of development, to finish with a book summarizing his career: “Journey through a life”, of which he narrates the adventures, sometimes risky, sometimes picturesque of his activities in Africa
It is therefore a leading personality, whose activity has covered a complete century, and a committed player in the development of African countries that has just died out.
Gérard Neyret – Henri Fleur
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