CRE Midwest

Engineering leader retires, will be very active in community

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Robert Hamilton

Robert Hamilton, co-founder and former CEO of Gewalt Hamilton Associates Inc., has retired after a successful 40-year career, but the civil engineer is far from stepping away from his many passions.

Robert Hamilton, co-founder and former CEO of Gewalt Hamilton Associates Inc., has retired after a successful 40-year career, but the civil engineer is far from stepping away from his many passions.

Hamilton, who with his partners, turned his two-member engineering consulting firm into a thriving business with 80+ employees, has long been known for his technical expertise, engaging and infectious personality, inspirational leadership style and dedication to community service.

The Lake County resident will fill his retirement days with activities that reflect those traits, as he spends more time coordinating internships for low-income minority students from Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep; sharing his love of flight by offering free airplane rides to children through the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program (397 rides to date); and providing free air transportation for Angel Flight, an organization that connects volunteer pilots with patients who are financially distressed or in a time-critical, non-emergency situation (108 flights to date). In addition, Bob serves on the Board of Advisors for the University of Detroit-Mercy, his undergrad Alma Mater.

Within his career, those traits earned him the respect of his colleagues, mentees and outside community members.

Just last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers honored Hamilton with its prestigious Illinois Civil Engineer of the Year Award - Private Sector, given to those who have significantly advanced the profession.

Hamilton did that in a number of ways, says Bruce Shrake, president of Gewalt Hamilton Associates.

“Bob has spent his entire career as a consulting engineer promoting the engineering profession, driven by a true passion for serving and leading others,” Shrake says.

Hamilton led the industry by developing collaborative relationships with not only clients, but also regulatory agencies and even industry competitors. He led his company by actively pursuing advanced technologies, such as the early implementation of AutoCAD Civil 3D. And he led his employees with a collaborative leadership style, calling on new and established team members to work together on projects.

He even managed to lead others to a better understanding of civil engineering.

“More than just a job or career, engineering is his passion,” says Leo Morand, project engineer for Gewalt Hamilton Associates. “And Bob integrates this passion for his profession with other aspects of his life, talking with those outside his industry about his projects and the implications of engineering practices on our daily environment. He has an uncommon ability to articulate complex, technical concepts to the uninitiated, with an engaging delivery style that has made Bob a highly effective, well respected witness at public hearings.”

Hamilton’s specialties included municipal engineering, transportation engineering, expert witness testimony and site development projects. He served a combined total of more than 40 years as Village Engineer for three different municipalities and provided expert witness testimonies for hundreds of cases since 1982. Of note, ten of those cases successfully defended other engineering firms from lawsuits.

Many people may recognize the large-scale projects he led, such as Loyola Academy’s Wilmette campus expansion, The Grove National Historic Landmark in Glenview, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington and Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.

A distinguished high school and college athlete who spent 24 seasons coaching and refereeing youth sports, Hamilton also found himself at the forefront of several athletic engineering projects, including the Waukegan Sports Park, Loyola Academy West Athletic Campus in Glenview, Community Park West in Glenview, and Danny Cunniff Park in Highland Park.

“Throughout his more than 40-year career, Bob has consistently conducted himself with integrity, always displaying the utmost respect for his peers, and most importantly, a desire to improve the communities in which we live and work,” Morand says.