Correction: An earlier version of this obituary contained several errors. Mr. Kappaz died Jan. 27 on an airplane bound for Panama, not Jan. 28 at a hospital in Panama. The first and last names of a surviving daughter, Christina Kappaz Ardila, were misspelled. He has 21 surviving grandchildren, not 12. His company, K&M Engineering and Consulting, was started in 1986, not in 1987. The obituary has been corrected.
Michael Kappaz, 70, the chairman and chief executive of engineering and consulting companies specializing in international power and telecommunications projects, died Jan. 27 while on a flight from Washington to Panama.
The cause was an apparent heart attack. His wife, Chafica Kappaz, confirmed the death. He lived in Potomac.
Mr. Kappaz was a vice president and general manager of international operations with Bechtel Power Corp. in the Washington area before forming his own company in 1986.
He co-founded the Washington-based K&M Engineering and Consulting group of companies, which completed projects in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
Michael Hegel Kappaz was born in Cartagena, Colombia. He came to the United States at 21 and later became a U.S. citizen.
He graduated in 1970 from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and received a master’s degree in business administration a year later from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
Mr. Kappaz was a past trustee of the Washington National Opera and helped recruit Spanish-born tenor Placido Domingo as the opera’s general director.
He was a board member of the Business Council for International Understanding and U.S.-Egypt Business Council, and was chairman emeritus of the U.S.-Colombia Business Partnership. He volunteered with the Spanish Catholic Center in Washington.
Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Chafica Dau Kappaz of Potomac; six children, George Kappaz of Potomac and Singapore, Nur Helen “Nuni” Fairbanks of Potomac, Christina Kappaz Ardila of Villa de Leyva, Colombia, Karen Donatelli and William Kappaz, both of Washington, and Patricia Slipher of Baltimore; his mother, Elena Kappaz of Cartagena; two brothers; two sisters; and 21 grandchildren.
— Bart Barnes