ENR File Photo
McGrath (right) chats with a field engineer at a California dam project site in 1966.

David J. "Dave" McGrath, who served as the publisher of ENR for 23 years and was one of the first American business-publishing executives to link to the China marketplace, died on Sept. 26 in Palm City, Fla. He was 86.

McGrath, ENR publisher from 1965 until 1988, was also a McGraw-Hill Cos. senior vice president. Working for the firm for 38 years, McGrath began his company career in advertising sales and later served simultaneously as publisher of ENR and, until it was sold in 1978, Construction Methods & Equipment.

McGrath forged "close working relationships with key industry associations," says Howard Mager, who succeeded him as publisher.

In a pioneering venture in 1979, he published the U.S.-China Construction Report, which helped to open the door for trade between China and the U.S. construction industry. It was printed in Hong Kong and distributed in the People's Republic. The International China Construction Report followed in 1981.

McGrath was a director of both the Construction Industry Manufacturers Association and the International Road Federation.

"He truly understood and admired construction and worked to enhance the magazine's unique role in keeping [the industry's] often disparate parts working together," says Howard B. Stussman, ENR editor emeritus. "Dave often didn't see eye to eye with editors, but when it mattered, he stood tall to the challenges to editorial integrity."