Structural engineer Nancy Hamilton, 60, known for leading and coordinating extremely complicated jobs—including JFK’s Terminal 4 and LGA’s Central Terminal Redevelopment phasing—died Oct. 24 from a gastrointestinal tumor.
“Nancy was a remarkable engineer who was determined and focused,” says David Scott, structural director at Laing O’Rourke. Scott was Hamilton’s colleague at multidisciplinary engineer Arup. “She was not drawn to structural gymnastics,” but rather to solving puzzles through integrated solutions, adds Scott. That led her to form Be Integrated in 2015. She was chairman, president and CEO.
Hamilton’s rare form of cancer may have been a consequence of her service. She helped assess structural safety issues for contractors at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks destroyed Manhattan’s World Trade Center, according to her daughter, Sarah Edwards, Be Integrated’s marketing communications director.
Carl Galioto, president of HOK, where Hamilton worked from 2011 to 2015, calls Hamilton a “great leader and a person of integrity and dedication,” who was a true designer.
During her nearly 40-year career, Hamilton amassed extensive aviation-sector experience. She led eight projects at JFK and had major roles in work at LAX, Salt Lake City, O’Hare, Minneapolis-St. Paul and King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Hamilton received a BS in structural engineering from Cal Poly in 1981 and an MS in civil engineering from MIT in 1984. From 1981 to 1987, she worked at KPFF. In 1987, Hamilton became London-based Arup’s 13th U.S. employee. In 2003, as a principal, she left New York City to start Arup’s Chicago office— single-handedly. After years of trying, “I found a company that wasn’t afraid of women,” she said (ENR 10/6/2003 p. 28).