Passing of Professor TC Kao

It is with great sadness that RailTEC shares the news that Professor Tsung-Chung “TC” Kao passed away unexpectedly on Thursday 29 September 2022 in Taipei, Taiwan. A private family funeral will be held on Wednesday 12 October 2022 and a memorial service will be held in Taiwan on Saturday 29 October 2022. TC was a mentor and inspiration world-wide to many in the high-speed rail (HSR) industry with his energy, passion, and drive. RailTEC owes him a special thanks. Into the late 2000’s RailTEC was solidly a freight-oriented rail program and TC brought HSR to the curriculum and research. For the 12 years he was at Illinois, TC was a research professor and RailTEC’s Director – High Speed Rail System.

TC had a 21 year involvement in Taiwan High-Speed Rail (THSR) and served for 12 years as the Vice President of THSRC – Planning/Infrastructure. This was a $15 billion USD infrastructure project with 1,200 professionals from 26 nations directly reporting to him during the construction stage. He also managed 55 international design and construction contracts with no single arbitration necessary during his management and all contracts were completed on time. TC had a desire to preserve the lessons he learned on the Taiwan High-Speed Rail project and accomplished this by writing a book on the management of the project and by sharing what he knew with the next generation of students.

Since April 2008, TC taught at National Taiwan University, National Central University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign. His first class at Illinois was in the Spring of 2010 and was co-taught with professor and George Krambles Director – RailTEC, Dr. Chris Barkan. TC went on to teach “High Speed Rail Engineering”, “High Speed Rail Planning”, “High Speed Rail Construction Management”, “High Speed Rail Operation & Maintenance” and “Integration Project Management”, with particular illustrations of his experience on the Taiwan High Speed Rail project. Illinois was incredibly fortunate because these were the first such classes taught in North America.  His cheerful attitude, pragmatic optimism and intellect made him an excellent teacher and his classes were always heavily attended.

To read the article about TC published in the fall 2022 edition of the CEE Magazine, click here.