Tata & Howard Announces Co-Founder’s Retirement

Paul Howard set to retire from the Massachusetts-based environmental engineering firm at the end of the year

Tata & Howard, Inc. has announced the retirement of Tata & Howard Co-Founder and Senior Vice President Paul Howard as of December 31, 2022. While he is stepping down from day-to-day operations, Mr. Howard will remain on the Board of Directors and serve as a technical advisor to the current leadership team led by Karen Gracey, P.E. and Jenna Rzasa, P.E., who were named Co-Presidents in 2017.

“Tata & Howard’s succession plan was underway when the company became a 100% ESOP in 2014,” commented Ms. Rzasa. “While Paul was originally planning to retire years ago, he graciously remained on the team to assist during the leadership transition that was expedited due to the untimely death of our firm’s President Don Tata.”

Donald Tata and Paul Howard co-founded Tata & Howard in 1992 and grew the firm from a two-person start-up to a highly successful engineering firm with multiple offices throughout New England and Arizona. In 2014, Mr. Tata and Mr. Howard created a 100% ESOP for Tata & Howard and lined up Ms. Gracey and Ms. Rzasa to assume leadership while they transitioned to retirement. However, in 2017, Mr. Tata passed away after a short illness. At that time, Mr. Howard resumed a full-time role with the company to assist the newly appointed Co-Presidents with the transition. Now five years later, Mr. Howard is looking forward to retirement.

Gracey and Rzasa have been with the firm since 1998 and 1997, respectively, and were named to the Board of Directors in 2013. As Co-Presidents, they have focused on Tata & Howard’s strategic plan while adhering to the firm’s core values and mission of providing unsurpassed solutions in the water environment. Vice Presidents Justine Carroll, P.E., Ryan Neyland, P.E., and Jon Gregory, P.E., who have a combined 50 years of experience with the firm, will continue to provide strategic and operational support to Gracey and Rzasa.

“Since the firm’s inception, Paul has served as a pillar of innovation, integrity, and technical excellence to Tata & Howard,” added Ms. Gracey. “While we will miss him in the daily operations of the firm, we are grateful for his unwavering support over the past five years and are looking forward to his continued thought leadership as part of the Board.”

Mr. Howard received his B.S. in Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute where he met Mr. Tata. Mr. Howard’s career has included numerous success stories including the design and construction of the Shrewsbury, MA Home Farm Water Treatment Facility, which at time of construction was the second largest biological treatment facility in the country, and which received the prestigious 2020 Bronze Award for Engineering Excellence through ACEC. Additionally, Mr. Howard served as Project Manager for the design and construction of the Town of Natick’s water treatment facility, which was the first to recycle backwash water in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He has served as President of the Massachusetts Water Works Association and has been involved in many trade committees including legislative, technical, awards, finance, and nominating. Mr. Howard was the recipient of the 2009 Past President’s Award, 2011 William H. McGinness Award, 2016 Water Works State Leadership Award, and the 2018 Executive Director Award. He is also a lifetime member of the American Water Works Association.

See photos from his retirement party here.


While we have been celebrating all year, October 19, 2017 is the official day of our 25th anniversary! All offices enjoyed a catered luncheon, after which we heard a few words from Co-President Karen Gracey and Co-Founder & Senior Vice President Paul Howard. After their speeches, we all raised a champagne toast to our incredible success over the past 25 years, and for continued success over the next 25 years. All employee-owners were also gifted with Tata & Howard fleece jackets. The day was a great success, and everyone felt proud and humbled to be part of this momentous occasion.

Donald Tata, Founder and CEO of Tata & Howard, Passes Away

donald tata
Donald J. Tata, P.E.

The Tata & Howard family is mourning the loss of the company’s co-founder and CEO, Donald J. Tata, P.E., 63. Mr. Tata died at home on March 25, 2017 after a valiant battle with cancer.

Tata & Howard Senior Vice President and co-founder Paul B. Howard, P.E. said, “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.  On behalf of the entire Tata & Howard team, we send our deepest sympathies to his wife, their two children, and three grandchildren.”

Don Tata founded Tata & Howard in 1992, and he served as President until last November when the company’s Board of Directors named Karen L. Gracey, P.E. and Jenna W. Rzasa, P.E. as Co-Presidents, and Tata as CEO. Under his leadership, Tata & Howard has grown to a nearly 70-person firm with nine offices in seven states, with recent expansion into Ontario, Canada. In 2014, the firm converted to a 100% employee-owned company and has embraced the positivity of ESOP culture. Don was instrumental in determining the firm’s core values of integrity, efficiency, client satisfaction, positive attitude, and teamwork, which the company has upheld throughout its 25 years in business. Don was also a true philanthropist and generously supported the many causes to which Tata & Howard donated, including Water For People, the Navajo Water Project, and the Jimmy Fund. While he dedicated much of his life to the firm he founded, Don always made time for his family and the various activities they enjoyed together.

He earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts, and his Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts. He held professional engineer licenses in Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, and Vermont.  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.

Gracey and Rzasa will jointly oversee daily operations and corporate strategy, and will continue to lead the organization with the same core values and excellence established by Mr. Tata. The firm has also appointed Kenneth M. Fischer, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, to the Board of Directors.

Paul Howard Receives 2016 State Leadership Award from NEWWA

pbh-state-leadership-award-12-2016On December 15, 2016, the New England Water Works Association (NEWWA) presented Tata & Howard Senior Vice President and Co-Founder Paul B. Howard, P.E., with the NEWWA State Leadership Award for the State of Massachusetts. The award recognizes outstanding leadership and contributions to the advancement of excellence in the water works profession. A past president of the Massachusetts Water Works Association (MWWA), Paul has over 38 years of engineering experience, all of which have been exclusively in the water environment. Throughout his career, Paul has been actively involved in state and regional water associations and has been a champion for the advancement of the water industry. All of us at T&H wish to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Paul on this well-deserved award!


MWWA Membership Meeting at Leicester Country Club

Karen L. Gracey, P.E., Vice President
Karen L. Gracey, P.E., Vice President

JANUARY 28, 2016 — We are at the Massachusetts Water Works Association membership meeting at Leicester Country Club today. In attendance are Karen Gracey, P.E., Vice President and Paul Howard, P.E., Senior Vice President. We’re here to talk water!