Passing of RJN's Founder, Richard J. Nogaj

It is with heavy hearts and sadness that we share the passing of our firm’s founder, Richard J. Nogaj (Dick), on December 22. Dick was the visionary who established RJN Environmental Associates in 1975, laying the foundation for innovation in civil and environmental engineering work.

 

In 1978, Dick took RJN engineering innovation to new heights with the development of CASS WORKS, a revolutionary computer software program that transformed the maintenance and management of municipal wastewater systems. His commitment to excellence and persistent pursuit of cutting-edge solutions is still a hallmark of RJN today. Dick also authored and presented technical papers at industry events and conventions; he led the development of I/I quantification techniques that remain industry standards. In 1995, Dick sold the firm to its employees, providing the foundation for RJN Group, Inc. (RJN) to become a 100% employee-owned firm.


Dick’s legacy extended far beyond RJN. In 1998, he founded the RJN Foundation. This charity organization aims to unite employees and contribute to the well-being of surrounding communities. The RJN Foundation continues to be an agent of change via non-profit charity grants and scholarships.

 

Dick was also a societal change advocate, focusing on antipoverty initiatives. He advocated for civil rights and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Chicago in 1968. Dick and a small group of like-minded people, including the Franciscan Sisters, secured zoning in Wheaton in 1978 for the construction of Marian Park, a low-income family, senior, and special needs housing development.

Dick and his wife, Florence, were also founders of several not-for-profit programs, including DuPage Habitat for Humanity (HFH) in Wheaton, Illinois, which helped more than 200 families. In Immokalee, Florida, Dick and Florence founded Harvest for Humanity and the Jubilation Development Corporation to provide an opportunity for affordable homeownership to 89 families. Dick was a popular public speaker on affordable workforce housing, immigration reform, and the Fair Food Movement.

 

Dick’s change-maker ideals will continue to inspire us as we carry forward his values, commitment to excellence, and dedication to making a positive impact on the world around us.

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