Arthur G. Bendelius ’58 MMS ’62 Found His Future on the Waterfront
For Arthur G. Bendelius ’58 MMS ’62, a Stevens education bridged a childhood love of woodworking and a passion for engineering on a massive scale. As an expert in tunnel ventilation, Bendelius has contributed to essential – and iconic – transportation infrastructure projects around the world.
As a youngster, Arthur G. Bendelius ’58 MMS ’62 enjoyed woodworking, so much so that he was eager to begin shop class at Clifton High School. His academic abilities caught the attention of his teachers as well, and they encouraged him to prepare for college. “I thought about becoming an architect,” he recalls. “My drawing skills, however, suggested that I would be better suited to engineering.”
Of the engineering schools he researched, Stevens interested him the most. “Stevens promoted a more general engineering education,” he says. “Since I wasn’t sure which branch of engineering I wanted to pursue, that made sense to me.”
Bendelius’ first trip to Stevens sealed the deal. “I liked the campus a lot,” he says. “After my interview, I walked around the neighborhood a bit and even got the opportunity to watch a movie being filmed.”
The filming in progress was for the Elia Kazan classic, “On the Waterfront.”
Bendelius considered focusing on chemical engineering at first – he had an uncle who managed a chemical firm – but he soon discovered that he was far more interested in structural engineering.
Stevens influenced his future in other, very significant ways too. “I played lacrosse, performed in four stage shows at the Stevens Theatre and joined the Sigma Nu fraternity where I became the house manager,” he says. “At a fraternity brother’s engagement party, I met Ginny, who would become my wife.”
Although Ginny passed away a few years ago, Bendelius enjoys telling the story of their romance. “We came to the engagement party with dates,” he says. “We saw each other again at the wedding. I was best man, and Ginny was tasked with pinning boutonnieres on the groomsmen.”
Not long after, Ginny visited Stevens with another fraternity member to see the newly married couple. “By then I was house manager of the fraternity and was there when she stopped in,” Bendelius says. “I even bragged to some of the freshman students that I would be escorting her home that day. By the next June, we were married.”
During the summer between his junior and senior years at Stevens, Bendelius worked for Syska Hennessey, designing HVAC systems for high-rise buildings. The firm hired him as a full-time mechanical engineer the following year.
It was a great opportunity, but still fell short of his goal to work as a structural engineer. Bendelius joined Parsons Brinckerhoff a few years later, and his career took off. “We were doing HVAC in industrial and military facilities,” he said. “It was super classified work. The company was involved in designing road and rail tunnels. I was part of the team that studied the tunnel ventilation, drainage and fire protection systems.”
Bendelius remained with Parsons Brinckerhoff for nearly all of his career. He retired from the company in 2004 and worked as a consultant for the next 12 years, before retiring fully in 2017. “I was able to build on my industry connections,” he says. “Ginny and I got to travel a lot as a result – we visited every continent except Antarctica!”
One of the projects he worked on as a consultant was the iconic Sydney Harbour Tunnel in New South Wales. “It was a fascinating project that involved many engineers with a wide variety of specializations,” Bendelius says. “The general nature of my Stevens education helped me to work effectively with all of them.”
Bendelius has contributed to literature on tunnel engineering, including authoring a chapter on tunnel ventilation and three additional chapters on other elements for the Tunnel Engineering Handbook, published initially in 1982, followed by the second edition in 1996. He was recognized as Atlanta Engineer of the Year in Private Practice in 1978 and has been a featured listee in Who’s Who in Finance and Business, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World. In 2019, Bendelius was honored with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.
Stevens has been the grateful recipient of Bendelius’ energy and expertise as well. “It was a funny coincidence,” he says with a laugh. “When I was working in New York, I rode the train with the Stevens alumni manager at the time. I mentioned that I was moving to Atlanta and asked who the alumni contact was there. He took out a piece of paper, wrote a name on it and handed it to me. Of course, the name on the paper was mine!”
Bendelius became president of the Atlanta alumni club, a role he held for 17 years, until he moved back to New Jersey. “We organized a special event to welcome President Farvardin to Atlanta,” he says. “When I visited Stevens for my 60th reunion, not long after Ginny passed, Dr. Farvardin made a special effort to speak with me and to offer his condolences. That meant a lot to me.”
Bendelius also helped bring significant resources to the university as a member of the fundraising committee for his class. In 1978, he was selected to receive the Harold R. Fee 1920 Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of his efforts on Stevens’ behalf. “It is so important, and so gratifying, to raise funds for Stevens,” he says.