oward Simpson, a founding member and former president of the national engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH) (Waltham, Massachusetts, USA), passed away on January 23 at the age of 97.
Along with Werner Gumpertz and Frank Heger, Simpson established SGH in 1956. Simpson contributed his expertise in structural engineering and mechanics of precision structures in helping SGH become one of the leading firms for solving complex engineering problems. In addition, Simpson, who served as the firm’s first CEO from 1983 to 1995, developed computer models of significant structures and contributed a “brilliant and business-minded outlook,” according to a statement by SGH.
“Howard Simpson set the standard for SGH. His critical thinking, technical expertise, and leadership were guideposts for SGH for his entire career and continue to inspire us today,” says SGH CEO and Senior Principal Charles Russo.
Simpson earned a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with Distinction from Cornell University (Ithaca, New York, USA), as well as a Master of Science and Doctor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA). Following a 12-year stint as a MIT professor, Simpson co-founded SGH, where his knowledge of reinforced concrete, shell design, and structural analysis was instrumental in several notable projects.
Throughout his career, Simpson was active in professional organizations that included the American Society of Civil Engineers, Boston Society of Civil Engineers, Applied Technology Council, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Building Seismic Safety Council, American Arbitration Association, American Concrete Institute, and New York Academy of Sciences.
“Howard was a leader and innovator who helped push the AEC industry in many ways, including using computers in finite element analysis,” says SGH Senior Principal Mehdi Zarghamee. “He set a great and lasting example for his peers at SGH and for all future engineers.”
Simpson was the last surviving member of the triumvirate, as Heger passed away in 2003 and Gumpertz in 2017. Recently, the standards organization ASTM International established an award in honor of Gumpertz, who was a longtime ASTM member.