Conrad Milster is the head engineer for Pratt Institute’s 127-year-old steam power plant. He’s also something of a legend on the Brooklyn art and design school’s campus — and a man of many loves. He loves the adopted cats that live at the 19th-century steam-heating factory. (Milster can remember most of their names). He has a lifelong love of mechanical things. And he loves the satisfaction that comes with keeping finicky equipment running, which helps explain his reluctance, at age 78, to retire. Milster, who started in the plant as a young man in the 1970s, is only the fourth head engineer in its existence.
New York-based filmmaker Dustin Cohen‘s short biopic below celebrates all of those loves.
“A lot of people would say, ‘Why do you have old machinery?’ I have it, and I like it, because it’s reliable,” Milster says. “When I leave, a lot of things are going to change. Is anybody going to give a damn about keeping the engines in nice-looking condition out there? … Who is going to take care of the cats when I’m gone? I don’t know.”