Engineer Alberto Pereira de Castro has always been closely identified with the Institute of Technological Research (IPT). When the Institute celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1999, he began to be referred to as “Mister IPT.” This was no pointless tribute – Castro had worked for 18 uninterrupted years as the superintendent of one of Brazil’s foremost research centers for technological research and as such contributed greatly towards the technological advances in the country. He died of cardiac arrest on August 13, at the age of 95. He is survived by his wife, three children, nine grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.
Doutor Alberto, as he was known at the IPT, was born in the city of Mineiros, State of Goiás, in 1915. When he was 11 years old, the family moved to the city of Uberlândia, in the State of Minas Gerais. He left Uberlândia for São Paulo to study civil engineering at the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo (USP). In 1936, during his third year at the university, he joined the IPT as a student assistant. He graduated in 1938, having specialized in metallurgy, and in the following year he was hired by the Institute as assistant engineer in the metals department. He worked as an analyst and service provider until 1944, when he resigned from the IPT and went to work for a metallurgical company. Later on, he worked as a consultant. In 1968, he went back to the Institute as superintendent, a job position that he held until 1985. From 1995 to 1996, he was director vice-president and from 1996 to 2005, he was president of the IPT. He retired in 2005 at the age of 90.
“Doctor Alberto was a reference to all of us at the IPT and, during 18 years of hard work, he was always at the core of the decisions that underscored the great transformation processes and growth of the Institute,” said João Fernando Gomes de Oliveira, current president of the Institute. “The directors of the IPT would visit him at home whenever it was possible, to ask for advice and learn from his wisdom and knowledge.”
In addition to his career at the Institute and as consultant to companies, Castro also worked as a director of the Companhia Brasileira de Materiais Ferroviários (Cobrasma) company for 20 years. He was one of the founders of the Brazilian Association of Research Institutes (Abipti), founded in 1980. In 2005, the Abipti established the Universidade Corporativa Alberto Pereira de Castro, Corporate University, named in his honor. The university promotes education with emphasis on the management of technological innovation.
Castro’s contribution to technological research has been widely acknowledged. “For decades, Dr Alberto was the most influential reference for the IPT. He was thoroughly familiar with the weak and strong points of technological development and engineering in Brazil. He was always a determining factor in the quality of the decisions,” said Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, scientific director of FAPESP. The need to know the right time to make changes was one of the lessons he left behind. “Technology needs delivery mechanisms that presuppose multiple relations, involving research institutes, industries, engineering firms, government and schools. When we realize that the delivery mechanisms no longer work, we know that the time has come to act differently,” said Castro.Republish