William G. Gahagan, P.E. was honored on June 28th in Norfolk, VA, with the Western Dredging Association’s (WEDA’s) “2018 Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of his life’s work in the dredging industry, his dedication towards its advancement, and his commitment to sound engineering and experience-based solutions.
Bill Gahagan has been a dedicated lifelong pioneer and leader in the dredging community. As an engineering graduate, he worked at Gahagan Dredging, which was founded by his grandfather and was responsible for the dredging of the Apollo Launch Site in Florida, and Newark (NJ), Kennedy (NY), and Logan (Boston) Airports. Gahagan Dredging was known for its innovations in developing equipment and dredging techniques for difficult projects. After a sea change in the industry, Bill became a consultant to Great Lakes Dredge & Dock in 1972.
While working at Gahagan Dredging, Bill met J. Franklin “Frank” Bryant, a veteran of the dredging industry. Frank later started Bryant Engineering and was contacted by Bill in 1974 for a project at Jupiter Island, Florida – a project notable as the first use of a hydraulic cutterhead dredge working in the ocean to renourish a beach. This led to the formation of Gahagan & Bryant Associates, Inc. (GBA) in 1975. It also established a lifelong bond between the two men and a shared belief that to properly design a dredging program, the designing engineers must have “hands-on” field experience in performance of dredging contract work.
Following that philosophy, GBA has grown into the largest firm in the United States specializing in dredging and marine-related projects. Clients soon learned that GBA reports were concise, clear and well-focused. A GBA report states, “this is the issue, this is the solution,” and the solutions work. GBA employees are always encouraged to learn the industry and hone their capabilities in the field, collaborating with owner and contractor.
GBA’s success was initially driven by Bill’s ability to provide sound, practical solutions to complicated projects. Once GBA was anchored as an established firm, Bill shifted his focus to mentorship. His dedication to the growth and development of engineers is unparalleled, as is his honorable and selfless contribution to the dredging industry. Within GBA and throughout the dredging industry, many executives, engineers, surveyors, and consultants have been positively influenced, inspired, and mentored by Bill.
Bill Gahagan has a long history of promoting WEDA and encouraging GBA employees to participate as members and conference presenters. In recognition of his outstanding support to the dredging industry and to WEDA, WEDA has honored him with its 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Dredging Contractors of America and the U.S.-flag dredging industry congratulate Bill on this most well-deserved accolade!
Grady Bryant (r), President of Gahagan and Bryant Associates, receives the award on Bill Gahagan’s behalf from WEDA President Marcel Hermans.
Photo courtesy of Steve Richardson, World Dredging Magazine