News Release Header
For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2015
Media Contact:
Jennifer Messemer
jlm045@miamidade.gov
786-552-8251

Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department unveils new tunnel boring machine named after Miami's first black millionaire, pioneer entrepreneur


(MIAMI, February 27, 2015) - The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD) unveiled its new Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) today and christened it Dorsey after Miami pioneer resident D. A. Dorsey, an influential entrepreneur who was Miami’s first black millionaire.

Students from Miami-Dade County’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) magnet schools were invited to participate in naming the TBM, which will be used to bore 75 feet underground and install a 60-inch sewer main from Fisher Island to the Central District Waste Water Treatment Plant on Virginia Key. Students from MAST Academy submitted Dorsey as the name based on his historical tie and impact to the community.

Born to former slaves, D.A. Dorsey moved to Miami in the 1890s. He worked for Henry Flagler and his Florida East Coast Rail Road company, where he became interested in providing rental housing for black laborers. Despite only attaining a fourth-grade education, Dorsey was self-taught and developed expert skills for negotiating, buying, selling, and managing real estate. He owned what is now known as Fisher Island and sold it to Carl G. Fisher.

“My grandfather owned many properties and donated land that allowed for schools and libraries to be built in the community,” said Dana Dorsey Chapman-Lewis, Dorsey’s granddaughter. “Despite the money he earned in his businesses, my mother always told me he stressed education as the most important thing someone can achieve in their life.”

Chapman-Lewis, along with two great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren, were in attendance at the name unveiling. She said she was thrilled when she was told that the TBM was going to be named after her grandfather and thought he would have been pleased that it was students who were involved in the project.

Designed and built in Germany, the TBM was shipped and assembled at the worksite earlier this month. The TBM is expected to break ground in April and should connect the plant to the existing sewer mains at Fisher Island by September.

Note to Editors: High-resolution photos are available upon request.