A.A McCorkindale was born in Scotland in the year 1923.He was the first civil engineer to emerge in both East and Central Africa in the 20th century.
After graduating in Civil Engineering from university of Glasgow in 1944, McCorkindaleworked for two years with the Ministry Aircraft Production in UK on aircraft design. He then joined a civil engineering contractor in UK and came with them to Kenya 1948 where he had been living.
He joined Sir Alexander Gibb &Partners (Africa) as an assistant water engineer in 1950 on Dar es Salaam water supply and in 1951 on a feasibility study for a new airport for Nairobi at Embakasi. The airport was constructed from 1954 to 1957 and is the current Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
He worked on airport, water supply, road and other civil engineering projects in East Africa and Mauritius between1953-1962 when he was appointed Chief Engineer of Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners. In 1964 he became Resident Partner of the firm responsible for the firm’s work in E.A, Rhodesia and Mauritius.
Between 1964 and 1977, Archie expanded the firms operations to cover projects in Oman, North Yemen, Somalia, Malawi, Sudan and Botswana. The projects handled by the firm during this time included: design and construction of over 2000km of roads in Kenya, other roads in Tanzania,Uganda,Middle East, Yemen among other countries .The firm was also responsible for water and supply projects in Kenya,Malawi,Mauritius,Botswana,Tanzania and Somalia as well as structural,habour and irrigation projects.
During this time the firm’s complement of staff in Africa increased from 35 in 1964 to 300 in 1977 including 170 engineers. The number of resident partnersalso increased from 1 to 5.
In 1978, he became the SeniorPartner of the firm in Africa, Cyrprus, Zimbabwe Mauritius and in Botswana. These firms had at their peak 200 engineers.
He played a major role in civil engineering in East Africa until his retirement in the year 1988.In the same year, Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II honored him with an OBE for services to engineering in East Africa. This made himthe foremost engineer in East Africa.
He was the first chairman of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Kenya in 1968; Chairman of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya from 1983 to 1985 and from 1969 to 1989 the representative in East Africa, Somalia and Mauritius of the Institution of Civil Engineers, UK.
In the year 1979, he was appointed the chairman of the journal committee of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya. He has been editing the Kenya Engineer magazine since then and publishing it from 1988.The magazine is a bi-monthly one which is partly financed from his own resources.
Archie who in his earlier days was a tennis player and a keen golfer, not only remains as a legend in the history of Engineering in East Africa but continues to drive engineering to higher levels by helping engineering students from UoN, JKUAT and Moi University in several ways including publishing their students’ magazines.