Remembering Ron Tanenbaum

Last month’s issue of Value World reported the passing of Ron Tanenbaum, PhD, PE, GE, CVS, F.ASCE after his courageous three-year battle with cancer. This article includes remembrances of Ron from three Value Management Strategies colleagues…

Terry Hays, CVS-Life, FSAVE – I first met Ron Tanenbaum over 25 years ago when I needed a Geotechnical Engineer for a VE Study in San Diego. Ron came highly recommended from a good friend. I found Ron to be not only an excellent team member, but one that fully embraced and was fascinated by the VE process. After several more studies he decided that he wanted to earn his CVS and I was pleased to be his advisor and mentor him through the process.

Ron had no problem getting his “Share” points for certification. He loved to teach and his background as a professor served him well. He took me to a 4-hour session he set up with San Diego State University – College of Engineering, to introduce third year engineering students to Value Engineering and encouraged them to integrate VE into their required projects the following semester.

I will never forget the theme of his seminar. He used the Stone’s song “You Can’t Always Get Want You Want (but in the end you get what you need),” to explain how VE and more importantly, Function Analysis works to help engineers understand their projects in a new light and find a way to deliver what the customer really needs for a price the customer is willing to pay. Ron’s engaging style and personality had about 1/3 the class stay over asking questions eager to find out more.

After Ron received his CVS, he left the large engineering firm world and set up his own firm GeoVal where he could do both Geotechnical and Value Engineering consulting. He also joined the VMS staff and worked with us for over 12 years, and was a favorite team leader for many clients. One of our team, working with Ron on a project, commented to me about Ron, “I don’t think that he has ever met anyone that is not his friend.”

Ron’s desire to share his knowledge to help others, his outgoing personality and his positive attitude made everyone around him feel comfortable and welcome. I am very thankful to have known Ron and to have had him as a friend for these many years. He will be missed.

Rob Stewart, CVS-Life, FSAVE, PMP, PMI-RMP – I first worked with Ron about twenty years ago. I was a young CVS and he was a geotechnical engineer working for Dames & Moore. I remember being impressed with his energy and enthusiasm. Aside from his considerable engineering knowledge, Ron was a very capable CVS team leader in his own right, and I had the honor and pleasure of working with Ron at Value Management Strategies, Inc. for over a decade.

Ron always had a humorous anecdote to share and relished mentoring all of us younger folk. He was worldly, well-traveled, kind and considerate. I remember having dinner with Ron and his lovely wife Annette several times. On one such occasion at his house, I saw a few examples of his artwork. He was very creative, witty and funny. He was a wonderful human being and I will miss his presence.

Mariah Brink, VMA – The things I will remember most fondly about Ron were his love for show tunes and Glee, his quirky sense of humor, how he made an effort to keep in touch, how proud he was of his family, and the dinner invites and holiday cards we received from him and Annette. I am the proud owner of a Ron Tanenbaum original painting (subject: my cats). I remember years ago, he was so tickled to be my tour guide around New Orleans on two occasions we worked there together. He took particular care to show me a watered-down version of Bourbon Street during my first visit (we had work to do that night, after all.) Ron had such a wealth of experience to share, and he didn’t mind spending time sharing it. I’ll always remember the twinkle in his eyes as he made a (relatively clean) dirty joke, and the energy you couldn’t help but pick up on when in his presence. I looked up to Ron and had a lot of respect for his work, intelligence and outlook on life.