Allyn E. Kilsheimer, a structural engineer who arrives at the Pentagon at about 5:00 p.m., will recall: “I picked up parts of the plane with the airline markings on them. I held in my hand the tail section of the plane.”
He was CEO of KCE Structural Engineers PC, which was responsible for rebuilding the Pentagon under the Phoenix Project. Kilsheimer was the head structural engineer.
The grizzled 70-year-old started KCE Structural Engineers PC in 1968 out of a closet he sublet from the Washington Building Congress on Connecticut Avenue and built it into a business that has been among the companies responding to tragedies that include the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon, the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. He is used to seeing companies’ reaction in the wake of major disasters and minor crises. His clients typically respond “like a deer in the headlights,” Kilsheimer said. “You just freeze, and what they need is someone coming in to take charge.” And that’s exactly what Kilsheimer does. Even at major disaster sites where the likes of the FBI and military are involved, he wants complete control over his operation — someone else can deal with the politics and paperwork.
Kilsheimer, the son of a concentration camp survivor, said that in a way, after Sept. 11, he felt he was repaying America for what it had done to help his family during Word War II. His parents moved to D.C. when he was a boy, and Kilsheimer grew up in Tenleytown, pumping gas south of Tenley Circle before studying structural engineering at George Washington University and working part time for engineering firm Beall & Lemay. Today, Kilsheimer regularly flies around the world working on projects from Panama to Puerto Rico.
1. He got his start out of university working for a firm (Beall & Lemay) that was part of the NIKE Missile programme, doing architectural surveys for the military on sites where the missiles were to be installed 2. He had access to the Pentagon Construction work before 911, he was down in the basements sometime in the mid 1990s doing something.
It is not clear when Kilsheimer arrived at the Pentagon on 9/11. According to him he was in Washington when the event occured, at a meeting on K street and got a call from his office telling him about it. He then proceeded to his office. Popular Mechanics tells us he arrived at 5pm.