György Várnai (1947-2023)
It is with great sadness that we inform all those who knew and loved György Várnai, one of the founding owners of Prolan Zrt. and Chairman of the Supervisory Board, that he has passed away in the 76th year of his life.
Gyuri (as most of us at Prolan called him) started his professional career in 1970 as a young electrical engineer at MMG-Automatika Művek, designing and developing measurement data acquisition and remote control systems for the oil and gas industry.
As of the 80s, microprocessors and Soviet-made so-called "large machinery" became more and more widespread in Hungary, and Gyuri was in charge of one of its software departments.
Gyuri used his language skills and his engineering and economics degree as head of the Enterprise Office in the 1990s. During this period, three major achievements in railway automation were accomplished: the first KÖFE system in Szeged, the Hegyeshalom power inverter and the code operator at Ferencváros station, operating for 27 years. These gave him his first railway professional recognition and a forward-looking switching system.
The year 1998 marked a milestone in his life too, founding Prolan-Alfa Kft the railway division of our company -, in cooperation with László Marcsinák and Prolan Kft. The objective was to develop, design, configure, integrate, test and finally commission a safety-rated railway remote control system on the basis of existing industrial control hardware and software tools. This led to establishing ELPULT, KÖFE (Central Traffic Control), KÖFI (Central Traffic Management System) and FET (Overhead Line Energy Remote Control) systems. During the first successful project, on the Győr-Sopron railway line, the remote control of 12 stations over 85 km was implemented. The length of lines monitored or remote-controlled by our systems has exceeded 2,000 km since then.
In addition to his economic and entrepreneurial duties as Managing Director, he was also excited to write the script for the product brochure of the Szeged KÖFI system, a project close to his heart.
It was his organisational skills that enabled our ever-expanding community to travel to many places in team building, from Istanbul to Spain and from the South to Jordan. With his office open at all times, we could turn to him for advice, opinions and a kind word - not only on professional matters.
For the last 5 years, he has been the chairman of the supervisory board of our company, monitoring and controlling both economic and business processes.
In recognition of his work, he received the Company's Lifetime Achievement Award in December 2022.
With the passing of Gyuri Várnai, we have lost not only a great professional, but an irreplaceable colleague and friend.
We cherish his memory and let his work serve as an example to all young engineers and future leaders.