In November 2017, the electrician on the bridge between New York and Los Angeles, Mesa Az, was killed in a car accident.
I’d been a regular on the East Coast for the last eight years and had worked on bridges in New York, California, and New Jersey.
I hadn’t yet started on the West Coast when I was killed.
Az, a father of four, was a regular at the bridge.
But he had a life outside the bridge: He worked in construction, and he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013.
In the fall of 2017, he was working on a project to install a new electrical panel.
He’d already done work on a small electrical panel for the bridge in 2012.
That panel, he had learned, was the source of a massive electrical failure in October of that year, killing his passenger.
The cause was a leak in the metal of a connector.
The wires in the panel were too loose to bend, so it snapped off, snapping Az’s neck.
He died at a hospital two days later.
His family, stunned by his death, tried to find ways to raise money to pay for his funeral, which had to be paid for by an insurance company.
The company he worked for, TELUS, had been unable to provide enough money to cover the funeral expenses.
TELUs, Az’s employer, had also struggled with its finances as a result of the accident.
The financials for TELuses work are so difficult to calculate that Az’s family and friends began trying to raise more money for Az’s funeral.
In December, TEGEX, the operator of the bridge, was awarded a $3.3 million grant to help pay for Azs funeral.
The money would go to a nonprofit Az helped found in 2015 called the Az Fund.
“Mesa was a great guy,” TEGEM, Az Fund’s parent company, said in a statement to Ars.
“He had been a lifelong fan of our company, TECE, and his generosity and devotion will be missed.”
TEGAM has since partnered with Az Fund, raising more than $1 million.
“The Az Fund is grateful for Mesa’s support and wishes to express our deepest gratitude to his family and loved ones,” TELEX said in its statement.
“We are confident the Az Funds funds will enable Mesa to take the final steps to his final resting place.”
Az was a member of the National Governors Association, the nation’s oldest trade association, and worked on its energy and infrastructure task force.
His death, in particular, resonated with him, according to several of his colleagues.
“It’s so heartbreaking,” one told Ars.
TEGET, Az, and the other surviving victims of the crash, including two of his former coworkers, are listed on the NGA’s website as “Honored members.”
“We’re all grieving.
We’re all sad,” Az told Ars by phone.
“I feel like I’m a victim of a very, very sad accident.
It’s a very dark day for the world.”
Az had been part of the group that met in May to design and build the new electrical panels, which TEGETS engineers said would be the most modern and cost-effective bridge in the country.
They wanted the panels to include better-designed wiring for the battery, for example, and more flexible connectors for better airflow.
The design of the panels was initially a collaboration between Az and TEGERE, TESEL, and TELMEC, a consortium of electric utilities.
Az worked on a panel for TEGERES for three years before joining the AzFund.
“When we started working on the panels, he did some work that really showed the value of his expertise, and I think it was the first time that he had done that work,” Az said.
Az also worked on the designs for the panels for TESERES.
“His expertise was not in just the electrical panels but also in how the whole system would work,” TESELL president and CEO James Knepp said in an interview.
“So we were very happy to get the money from the Az Foundation, because that’s where the expertise was coming from.
I think he was a very important part of that.”
TELEM was one of three utilities that were given $15 million to help fund the project.
TEMES had received another $15.4 million from a $100 million loan from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which was created in 2015 to promote electric utility efficiency and investment.
TESLEX received $1.9 million from the NEME, the National Energy Management Association, which was set up in 2007 to foster energy efficiency and clean energy.
Az’s work on the TEGES panels was “part of the fabric of what TESEX is, and we are proud to work with TESEC and TESET to