Dr. Hugh Golder

An icon from the United Kingdom when soil mechanics was a fledgling science, he brought experience and reputation to the company named after him.
Dr. Hugh Golder

Dr. Golder was a pioneer and authority in the field of geotechnical engineering, beginning his career at the Building Research Station in England, where he was engaged in developing testing techniques for dams and foundations following the failure of the London-area Chingford reservoir dam in 1937. During World War Two, he worked on the construction of airfields and Mulberry Harbour for the D-Day Normandy landings. He helped to set up and served as a Director of Soil Mechanics Ltd in London, U.K. from 1944 to 1957, working on a wide variety of projects around the world. Dr. Golder was a co-founder of the international journal Geotechnique in 1948 and published over 50 technical papers, which, as he proudly stated, contained “many with original ideas.”

Dr. Golder’s career took him from the UK to Canada, where he soon met Victor Milligan and Larry Soderman. It became obvious that these three leading experts should team to form the original H.Q. Golder & Associates (incorporated July 12, 1960). Dr. Golder’s experience and reputation from decades of practice in his chosen field provided the springboard from which the company could quickly grow in its early years. He personally financed the start-up of business and deferred his own salary (for one and a half years) until the company could afford to pay him. He set a high standard for technical excellence in the performance of Golder work.

Dr. Golder served as President until 1974, and Chairman of the Board until 1976, when he retired from full time work. While his reputation for technical excellence is paramount, Dr. Golder was also known to be a wonderful mentor, had great confidence in young people, a great sense of loyalty to colleagues, and a passion to do good work. In his obituary Dr. Golder was described as “a man of honesty and compassion, he helped both client and competitor with equal grace; a man of vision, he stimulated others to excel through his leadership and guidance.”