Ira A. Levy, 68, an AECOM executive vice president who helped engineer giant global infrastructure projects in a 44-year career, died June 15 in New York City after a fight with cancer. Design giant Gensler and architecture associations also lost a luminary with the May 27 death of Walter A. Hunt at age 74. No cause of death was disclosed.
Levy began his career with engineer Frederick R. Harris, eventually becoming president of its successor DMJM Harris and gaining his current role when AECOM bought the firm in 2010.
Levy’s career includes leading work on New York City’s Second Avenue subway and World Trade Center transportation hub, as well as on the Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia and Tren Urbano, San Juan, P.R.’s first public transit system. He also played a major role in transitioning AECOM from a holding company to an integrated service firm and expanding into New England.
“He was an industry great who delivered some of the largest projects in the region, while also dedicating his time to numerous industry and charity organizations,” says Cosema Crawford, senior vice president at Louis Berger Group and former chief engineer for the New York City Transit Authority. "Ira was a friend and mentor to so many at AECOM," adds Dan McQuade, the firm's group president of construction services.
Hunt, a member of Gensler’s founding generation, retired from the firm in 2012 as vice-chairman emeritus. He led such projects as the expansion of the Novartis campus in Hanover, N.J., MGM Mirage’s CityCenter in Las Vegas; and the Heart of Doha project for the 76-acre Msheireb sustainable development project in Qatar’s capital.
As capital campaign co-chair for the Center for Architecture in Manhattan, Hunt helped raise $6 million. The center has inspired more than 20 other centers around the U.S.
Hunt also was president of the American Institute of Architects’ New York chapter and a board member of the New York Foundation for Architecture, where he worked to create and promote design education programs. He was named an AIA Fellow in 2005.
In 2012, the Center for Architecture Foundation established the Walter A. Hunt Jr. Scholarship Fund to honor his dedication to the field of architecture and encourage New York City public high school students to pursue architecture study. The two-year scholarship supplements tuition for them at accredited architecture schools in New York state.
He also started the Judith and Walter Hunt Fund in Architecture at Yale University to support student and faculty travel related to study at the School of Architecture.
"Walter was an advocate for the younger generation here at Gensler and inspired many to reach further, learn more, and always give back," says one firm architect in an obituary post.
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