Late T.N. Subba Rao was chairman and managing director of Construma Consultancy Pvt. Ltd when he passed away on August 13, 2008. He was posthumously conferred with the ‘2nd CIDC Vishwakarma Awards 2010’ Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to the construction industry.
Born on March 27, 1928, in an illustrious architect family, Subba Rao obtained his B.E. from BMS College of Engineering, Bengaluru. Despite his father T.S. Narayanarao being a well-known architect at the time, Subba Rao joined Gammon India Ltd as an apprentice engineer in June 1950. He steadily rose to become director of the company at the young age of 34. During his career spanning over four decades, he held a wide spectrum of job responsibilities, including that of technical director until 1970, joint managing director (1970-1972) and managing director of Gammon India Ltd from 1973 to 1991.
Subba Rao was the founding director of Gilcon Projects Ltd, Gammon Nirman Ltd and Gammon Turnkeys Ltd. He also steered through FPCC right from the formative years. He was also director of Gammon Middle East. He created a Foreign Operations Cell for the company to take advantage of the Middle East boom and was instrumental in securing contracts in Dubai, Sharjah, Libya, Iraq and other countries.
Though Subba Rao started as a designer, he used to visit the project sites regularly to ensure that his designs were faithfully translated into construction. During his extended stays at site, he had the opportunity to observe and improve construction practices. In the bargain he also developed into an outstanding construction engineer.
Subba Rao’s command over English and presentation skills endeared him to leading engineering personalities all over the world. He had the unique perception to develop young engineers both in design and construction. His high academic qualifications and professional attainments as an engineer elevated his status to that of a top technocrat in the field of structural engineering involving bridges, tunnels, dams, high-rise structures and various other civil engineering works which reflected in Gammon’s many-sided activities.
Subba Rao was an active member of Indian Roads Congress and Bureau of Indian Standards and participated in almost all the committees relating to bridges, cement and concrete, pre-stressing etc.
Under his stewardship, Gammon was the recipient of two gold medals awarded by the International Federation of Asian & Western Pacific Contractors’ Association in 1971 for unique techniques used in the construction of Thane Creek Bridge near Mumbai and Precast Fertiliser Silos.
In recognition of Subba Rao’s contribution in the field of prestressed concrete and for his conceptualisation and realisation of structures having high sophistication in concept, design and construction, he was awarded the gold medal by the Federation Internationale de la Precontrainte (fib) London in 1986. He was vice president representing India on the fib and a member of the executive committee of the prestigious International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering, Zurich