Chief Engineer, Power Plant
Conrad Milster, Pratt’s chief engineer, has worked in the Institute’s power plant nearly his entire life. He has lovingly maintained the nineteenth-century steam engines that still operate today, providing heat and hot water to a campus comprising five city blocks. Until the 1970s when Con Edison took over, electric turbines provided electricity to the campus as well. Rendered in iron, marble, and ornate brass, the complex is a working museum, which, for Milster, is a symbol of an era when technology—with all its power and potential—was going to save us all. Recently, through a generous gift to the Institute, Milster established the Phyllis and Conrad Milster Endowed Scholarship, which will provide scholarships in perpetuity to students in Pratt’s Industrial Design program.
“Pratt is our life. And if an organization provides your livelihood, it should be a two-way street,” said Milster, who had intended to give the Institute a gift in his will, but after discussing his plans with a colleague he changed his mind. “I decided rather than wait until I am dead, I’ll give them the money now. I have to confess a touch of ego was in there as well.”
Text and Production: Bay Brown
Video and Production: Peter Tannenbaum