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In Memoriam: Bob Bein

February 19, 2024

The Southern California Water Coalition deeply regrets the passing of our esteemed longtime board member, Robert Bein, on February 17, 2024.

A dedicated participant in SCWC meetings for decades, Bein was passionate about addressing Southern California’s water issues, particularly advocating for the education of the public on essential infrastructure projects like the Delta Conveyance. At the SCWC quarterly board meeting in Riverside on January 26, 2024, he engaged California Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot about the Delta Conveyance project timeline, showcasing his commitment until the very end.

“Bob Bein’s enduring dedication to California’s water issues was more than professional—it was a profound commitment to the state he served. His insights, drawn from decades of experience, were invaluable, and his desire to contribute to the betterment of our water systems reflected a deep-seated passion for ensuring a sustainable future for all Californians. We will greatly miss his wise counsel and steadfast presence,” said Charley Wilson, Executive Director of the Southern California Water Coalition.

As Chairman of the Board Emeritus of RBF Consulting (RBF), Bein brought nearly 50 years of professional engineering expertise to his role. He joined RBF as Chief Engineer, overseeing all engineering projects and later ascended to President in 1964 and Chief Executive Officer in 1991. Under his leadership, RBF grew significantly, expanding from a modest team of 12 in 1962 to a robust workforce of 1100, establishing RBF as a leading civil engineering, land planning, and surveying firm in Southern California. RBF was bought by Michael Baker Corporation in 2011.

Bein proudly served as a United States Navy veteran in the hydrographic survey unit. His distinguished career included time on the engineering staff of both the County of Los Angeles and The Irvine Company.

He held the title of Registered Civil Engineer in 13 states and was a National Past President of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Bein actively contributed to the Orange County Business Council.

His legacy includes serving as the State President of the Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors of California, as well as the chairman of the Civil and Environmental Engineering advisory committee at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. A founding member of the Civil Engineering and Environmental Affiliates at the University of California, Irvine, Bein was also part of the honorary civil engineering fraternities Chi Epsilon and Tau Beta Pi, and the President’s Advisory Board at Concordia University. His passion for engineering extended to his involvement with various boards and committees dedicated to the field, such as Southern California Water Coalition.

During his presidency of the National ASCE Board, he oversaw the issuance of an Infrastructure Report Card for the nation and played a pivotal role in creating Orange County’s own Infrastructure Report Card.

Robert Bein’s unwavering dedication to his profession and his community will be profoundly missed by all who had the privilege of working with him.

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