In Memoriam — Donald J. Tata, P.E.
In October 1992, Donald J. Tata co-founded Tata & Howard with Paul B. Howard in Westborough, Massachusetts. Over the years, Don maintained the company’s core values of integrity, efficient solutions, client satisfaction, teamwork, and positive attitude while overseeing the growth of the company from a two-person start-up to an international firm with over 70 employees. In 2008, the corporate office moved to Marlborough, Massachusetts, and in 2011, 2013, and 2014, the firm acquired the assets of Loitherstein Environmental, Inc., Leach Engineering, Inc., and Roald Haestad, Inc., respectively. Don dedicated his professional life to building a company based on trust and respect, and he valued his team of employees, sharing ownership and success together. In 2014, Don was instrumental in converting the company to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), with 100% of the shares owned by the employees. Today, Tata & Howard is an international firm comprised of nine offices located in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Arizona, Texas, and Ontario, Canada.
During Don’s tenure with the company, he held the positions of President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board. He served as President from 1992 to 2016, and as Chief Executive Officer from 2016 until his death in 2017.
In addition to his passion for the field of engineering, Don was a dedicated family man and avid outdoorsman. Since their marriage in 1979, he and his wife, Martha, resided in Natick, Massachusetts, where they raised their two children and adored their three grandchildren. Together they enjoyed camping, hiking, kayaking, running, and summer vacations on Cape Cod. Throughout Don’s life, he maintained an active lifestyle that centered around his family, and he was well known for his fantastic Italian cooking and homemade wine.
Prior to co-founding Tata & Howard, Don worked exclusively in the water engineering consulting industry. He held professional engineer licenses in Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, and Vermont. In 2013, Don received the William H. McGuiness award from Massachusetts Water Works Association for his knowledge, contributions, and accomplishments in the water works industry as well as outstanding service to the Association. In addition to Don’s leadership of Tata & Howard, he served on the Board of Directors for Ti-Sales of Sudbury, Massachusetts.
Don was born and raised in Leominster, Massachusetts and graduated from Leominster High School in 1971. He went on to earn his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1975 and his Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts in 1979. During his time at WPI, he met Paul Howard, with whom he developed a lifelong friendship and later co-founded Tata & Howard. He was also a star pitcher for the WPI Engineers baseball team.
Two scholarships have been instituted in his memory. The Donald J. Tata Engineering Scholarship is awarded annually to a graduating senior from Marlborough High School who is pursuing a degree in engineering, and The Donald J. Tata WPI Scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior from Natick High School who is attending WPI.
“Don was an incredible person, a brilliant engineer, and a lifelong friend. He dedicated his talents and drive to Tata & Howard for the past 25 years, and his presence is already greatly missed. His determination, integrity, passion for excellence, and commitment to the firm will continue to inspire all of us at Tata & Howard.”
—Paul B. Howard, P.E., Co-founder and Senior Vice President, Tata & Howard