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Contractor Manager Bill Scott is Dead of Cancer at 69

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William G. "Bill" Scott, 69, a construction executive and project manager who helped complete schedule-challenged dams, among other projects, died on April 24 in Denver.


The cause was cancer, according to former colleague Garth L. Wilson, chairman of consultant Engineering and Construction Insights.

Scott, who began his career with contractor S.J. Groves & Sons, became a vice president at Green Construction Co. and later president of its mining unit in Guyana.

Scott was a key participant in managing completion of the $217-million Merrill Creek Dam in western New Jersey in the mid 1980s, that was significantly delayed by weather and other issues.

Finishing the dam on time "will be a very interesting undertaking. It's a short time and a lot of material to move into a tight space," he told ENR in a 1986 story, while an executive at Green Construction.

The firm was managing the work as part of its contribution to a joint venture with an Australian firm, Leighton Construction Ltd. The team, led by Leighton with its 55% interest, was low bidder in 1985 on all the major work packages except for a pipeline-tunnel, said ENR.

Construction had started in September 1985 and was targeted for completion before the end of 1987. According to ENR, the contractor figured it could get the dam built before the end of 1986.

But rain muddied the start of construction, and five critical weeks were lost in the summer of 1986 because of a dispute with local soil conservation officials over turbid water, according to ENR. Those delays were compounded by unexpected foundation problems, which ENR characterized as "virtually a paving job with concrete that's 30 ft deep in some shear zones."

The optimistic schedule originally set by the contractor crashed and the project was pushed back by close to a year, according to Richard N. Seemel, who was project manager at the time for one of the project's utility owners. Seemel said that in the fall of 1985, the contractor had anticipated project completion in a year, which turned out to be overly optimistic.

Both contractor and owner project staffs underwent major reorganizations, which "revitalized" the project execution and helped builders complete work before the onset of winter, which which have required a full shutdown on the dam and a costly remobilization next spring, said ENR.

Scott was among the experienced hands brought to the job. "Everybody had to beef up," he told ENR at the time. "We lost five weeks of the best weather."

Scott went on to become a project manager for Washington Group International on the equally-challenging $705-million San Roque dam in the Philippines and served as a regional manager on company projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Eqypt.

Most recently, he was a senior program director with Parsons Corp. on military housing projects for developer Forest City Ratner in Hawaii.


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