Dick Bryan, a charter member of the National Academy of Construction, a retired executive vice president of the H. B. Zachry Company, and the CII Chairman in 1993, passed away on December 8, 2006,in Galveston, Texas at the age of 74. Dick’s father was an engineer, so he grew up in the industry with a healthy dose of engineering and construction interest in his blood and genes. Dick was born in Iowa, but he moved with his family in the late 1930s to Texas. During World War II, his father built the Fort Hood water and sewer systems. Dick’s son, Scott, said his dad held a lifelong interest in building projects, and his impressive resume certainly reflects this.
In addition to a lifetime of commitment to the industry, Dick was a proud and generous Texas Aggie, a fact not lost on H.B. Zachry executives. After receiving his undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M in 1956, Dick went on to earn a Masters from Stanford, and then attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1986.
He was never content to rely exclusively on his engineering education and experience; in fact, he was listed in Marquis Who’s Who in Business and Finance10 years before he achieved listing in Who’s Who in America. He enjoyed executive status in the development community, with both the Cadillac Fairview and Gerald D. Hines companies. Projects with which he was intimately involved while at Cadillac Fairview included several Houston Center elements, such as the Houston Center Club and the Houston Center Park, a1.5 million square- foot multi-use office and retail development,the Gulf Tower, and the Four Seasons Hotel complex. While with the Gerald D. Hines firm, he was of the United Bank of Denver project, a 1.3 million square- foot office tower. He was project director of1.4 million square-foot twin trapezoidal office towers known as Pennzoil Place in Houston, Texas, where he worked with the architectural team of Phillip Johnson and John Burgee. He represented the Hines organization as director and general manager of Hines Overseas, Ltd. In this capacity he traveled extensively from his base in Athens, Greece, to Europe and the Middle East. This engagement involved design and construction of the World Trade Center in Cairo, Egypt.
Dick worked at H.B. Zachry twice during his career.
He served as a project manager and later as a senior project manager during the years from 1957 until 1970. For four years he represented the company in South America as manager of a joint venture with Peruvian contractors building about 150 kilometers of transcontinental highway from Lima to the head waters of the Amazon through the Amazon jungle. During the latter two years of this first time with Zachry, he was general manager of a Zachry subsidiary that produced aggregates and ready mixed concrete. In March of 1985, Dick rejoined the Zachry Company as vice president and manager of the commercial buildings division and director of Zachry’s real estate subsidiary. In 1987, he was promoted to senior vice president of the industrial group; concurrently he was elected to the Zachry board and became a member of its executive committee. Prior to his retirement from Zachry, he was again promoted, this time to executive vice president.
Dick Bryan was Chairman of CII in 1993. He presided over CII’s tenth anniversary festivities, and it was during his tenure that the Process Industries Practices(PIP) initiative was undertaken. He considered his CII service, and especially the year of his chairmanship,as an especially satisfying part of his career. This feeling was clearly communicated by the conscientious way he approached the CII challenge Dick’s family, church, and community were terribly important to him. He was devoted to his wife Shirley,his daughter Shari, his son Scott, Scott’s wife Helen,and his grandson Jeffrey and his wife Julie. His beloved family includes a brother and sister, their spouses,and nine nieces and nephews and their respective families. He was active in the Alamo Heights United Methodist Church in San Antonio. Extending his interest from passive to active, he served for several years on the board of governors at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio. He worked to develop a unique and highly effective 50-50 partnership between the nonprofit Methodist Hospital and the for-profit Health Corporation of America. This partnership was established in 1996 to provide quality healthcare in San Antonio. The non-profit organization’s share of proceeds has been directed to a new organization that Dick helped to found and that he served as board member and board president. Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas has become a $40 million per year source of healthcare to the under-served in a wide region of Texas.
Dick and his wife Shirley helped to establish a local Burn Survivor’s Association to help youngsters adjust following their injury and treatment. Dick was active in the San Antonio United Way organization. Feeling that engineers fail to fully appreciate the contributions of art and literature to their lives, the Bryan family has established the “Humanities for Engineers”endowment at the Texas A&M University library to expand opportunities to engineering students.
Rounding out the interests and activities of this broadly experienced engineer, Dick accepted leadership roles in the Urban Land Institute. He was a member of the City/County Government Commission of San Antonio and Bexar County. He was a Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas, and a Fellow in the American Society of Civil Engineers. He served his alma mater as a member of the Texas A&M Committee on the Visual Arts, and was a member of the Texas A&M University Graduate Program Advisory Committee. He was a life member of The Association of Former Students. After but a single semester at A&M, his Texas Air National Guard unit was called to federal service during the Korean War. Dick answered the call in spite of qualifying for an education deferment. He served for two years beginning in 1950 before returning to the campus to complete his undergraduate studies in 1956
Dick Bryan was so accomplished in so many ways.
Contrary to the stereotype too often associated with engineers, he was much, much more than an accomplished professional in his chosen field of building. He expressed his concern for the perception that construction was not a field attractive to the best and the brightest. He worked hard, by both word and deed,to erase this negative image. He set an example in his professional and private lives worthy of our finest leaders and exemplary of the qualities that the National Academy of Construction promotes. He will be missed by all who were privileged to know him.