In Memory of George P. Kelley


It is with deep sadness that we share the news that our dear friend and colleague, George P. Kelley, one of the founding members of LANGAN, has died.  During his 48 years with the company George served as a Managing Principal and also was the Chairman of our Board from 2005 THROUGH 2015.  He was a pragmatic and extremely talented engineer, a mentor to many, and a friend to us all. his reservoir of energy inspired those who were fortunate to have known him.

Last spring, while most people his age were slowing down, George Kelley took to the seas with a small crew on a 40’ catamaran for some Caribbean island hopping before trekking north across the Atlantic from Antigua to Annapolis. George, like all sailors, always had his eyes on the same thing … the horizon. It was there that he no doubt gained his boundless optimism, his youthful curiosity, his remarkable energy, and his obstacle-defying “why not?” philosophy of life.

Although George passed away last week, all who knew him within and beyond Langan, will journey forward in part because of him. It’s what he would have wanted. Indeed, we will never forget him, his accomplishments, and his story.

George Paul Kelley was born in Philadelphia in 1943. After graduating from Duke University with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering in 1965, George served as a young construction engineer with the Navy Seabees from 1965 to 1967 during the Vietnam War. After being discharged from the Navy, he earned a Master’s Degree, also in civil engineering, from Purdue University in 1968.

Shortly thereafter in 1970, George and two other engineers – George Derrick and Dennis Leary – joined Bernie Langan to start a new firm called Langan Engineering. From its very beginning in a small space in Clifton, New Jersey, the firm took on projects with complex regulatory issues and challenging subsurface conditions, quickly building its reputation for “technical excellence, practical experience, and client responsiveness,” words that remain cornerstones at Langan.

From day one George could be found on the so-called frontline, sleeves rolled up, working solutions that made sense to all involved. Nowhere were his unique skills better at play than leading teams on complicated redevelopment programs, such as two Connecticut projects in the 1990s: the Former Scovill Brass Center in Waterbury, and Swiss Bank’s Stamford Campus. The former involved the environmental remediation and demolition of a 90-acre site with over 60 contaminated buildings. George led value engineering on the remediation process, which allowed the client to achieve a savings of $10 million. On the latter, George managed all site remedia­tion and demolition of 20 buildings, and coordinated the geotechnical investigation and foundation recommendations in downtown Stamford in preparation for Swiss Bank’s proposed 1.2-million-square-foot campus.

George’s hand touched many of the region’s urban areas – Camden, Paterson, Newark, Elizabeth, New Brunswick, Hoboken, and Trenton, as well as many projects in New York’s five boroughs and downtown White Plains. In almost all of these cities, George literally affected the future by leading the redevelopment of dozens of elementary and high schools. His touch extended to the collegiate level where he led projects at Rutgers, NJIT, Stevens Institute of Technology, The College of New Jersey, Montclair State University, Kean University, Seton Hall University, Stockton College, William Paterson University, CUNY and Columbia University. George became well-known at the NJEDA and the NJSCC as an advocate for community welfare through development.

Not surprisingly, George served as a valued mentor to many, many Langan employees. His wisdom, knowledge, and guidance were appreciated by all. George’s dedication to the firm and his passion for the industry continue to motivate everyone at Langan. He was passionate about the ACEC Engi­neering Excellence Awards competition. Each year he made certain that Langan submitted projects, and many of those submissions went on to win at both state and national levels. His commitment to Langan employees is underscored annually with the “George P. Kelley Empowerment Award,” which is given to an employee who demonstrates leadership results through empowerment.

In addition to serving on the Advisory Board for the College of Science and Mathematics at Montclair State University, he served on the Board of Directors for the American Council of Engineering Companies as well as for the Independent College Fund of New Jersey. He was also appointed by the Governor to be a member of the Brownfield Redevelopment Task Force, which is a group of professionals charged with assisting in the redevelopment of contaminated industrial sites throughout the state of New Jersey.

George Kelley is survived by his wife Barbara, his three children, and four grandchildren.

55 responses to “In Memory of George P. Kelley”

  1. Always a well-dressed and dapper GENTLEMAN!  I thoroughly enjoyed mixing your audio during our company workshops and will miss your presence and high example of dedication to this firm. Thank you for all your lasting contributions Mr. Kelley (with two e’s and don’t you forget it!!!) No Sir, NEVER to be forgotten. Deepest condolences to the Kelley Family.

  2. George was a great mentor and friend. Very practical, smart, inquisitive, curious and witty… I am thankful for the firm that he helped create… and I am thankful that I got to know him. Rest in Peace.

  3. We are heartbroken to hear of the passing of George Kelley. George was truly a wonderful person and it was not only a pleasure to work with him on P3 initiatives, but an honor to have him as part of our membership. Everyone at AIAI will miss our colleague, and our friend.

    Lisa Buglione,
    Director of Operations and Development, AIAI – The Association for the Improvement of American Infrastructure.

  4. As an early member of AIAI, George Kelley was actively involved and believed in the work we are doing. An enthusiastic member of the Social Infrastructure committee, we were fortunate to have his involvement and insight. George was a true industry leader, and his wisdom and experience will be sorely missed.
    William A. Marino,
    Chairman, AIAI – The Association for the Improvement of American Infrastructure.

  5. I didn’t had the pleasure to spend too much time with Mr. George, but one thing is for sure, his contributions to our institution will never be forgotten.

    Thank you very much George!

     

  6. George was a loyal client, a good friend and a wonderful human being. He was always fiercely determined to protect Langan’s interests and reputation. His insights and ability to break down complex engineering concepts were masterful. I enjoyed working with him for over ten years and I will miss him. Rest in Peace, George.

  7. George was a mentor and great inspiration.  I had the great fortune of spending several days on the ocean with George fishing and listening to his stories about racing sailboats in his youth.  This type of racing requires highly-skilled professionals to operate complicated, high-tech machines, all-the-while adhering to the fundamentals of sailing.  It is clear to me now that George’s greatest sailboat is Langan!  He will be missed.

  8. I just opened my ACEC NJ Newsletter and saw the Memoriam for George.  I served with George on the ACEC-NJ Executive Committee for several years and was surprised and saddened to hear of his passing.  What an energetic and dedicated Engineer!  Very sad news and a great loss to the Consulting Engineering community of New Jersey.  My condolences to George’s family, inside and outside of Langan.

  9. On behalf of Montclair Kimberley Academy, I want to express our deepest sympathy to George Kelley’s family and to his colleagues at Langan.  In his professional capacity, George and his associates have played an essential role in helping to shape and accomplish projects at our school that have transformed the experience of students and teachers.  George earned MKA’s high regard for the quality of his work as a leader at Langan.

  10. I just learned of George’s passing and am truly sorry.  I sat next to George for 12 years through grades 1-12, but sadly we never became good friends.  I always thought George was a nice guy, certainly smart and clearly destine for success.  George was highly regarded by his classmates throughout his school years.  I was not surprised by all of his accomplishments.  Sadly the Lincoln High School Class of 1961 just lost an outstanding member.

  11. We here at Geotechnical Testing Services, Inc. are saddened to hear of the passing of Mr. Kelley.  Our condolences to his family and staff.

  12. I knew of George long before I came to Langan and when I met the man in person, he did not disappoint. His energy and quick wit were invigorating and he kept everyone around him at their best. I hear so many of his phrases coming out of my mouth when I am mentoring and inspiring people. His legacy is not just the great company that he helped to create or the projects that will remain, it is the inspiration of a man who loved people and loved his work and never stopped learning. George, you are deeply and truly missed and my thoughts go out to your family in this time of loss.

  13. I never had the opportunity to introduce myself to George but the company (Langan) he helped create was a pleasure to work with.  God rest his soul and I am confident that his company will last for many years to come.

    Mike Smith

    RAD Construction

  14. George’s integrity and openness shined through in everything he did.  His down-to-earth manner permeated Langan.  His inspirational talks at every Langan function formed a cornerstone of the company’s culture.  His depth of experience, and willingness to share, was always appreciated.  We have lost one of the best and he will be sorely missed.

  15. Truly a loss for so many. Hopefully George’s family and all of us can be comforted in some way with our many great memories of this exceptional family member, leader, engineer and friend. And you were always right, George, the two firms are better together. Thank you for the love and support you shared with so many of us.

  16. Pray for him. May I express my deepest sympathies to the family and the firm which I respect and admire.

  17. I was very fortunate to work with and be mentored by George in the early days of Langan 1978-1983.   We worked on several high profile projects around New Jersey.  He will be sorely missed by me as he treated me respectfully and professionally.

  18. George has been a huge support for me on many of challenging and very interesting projects I handled. While working with him, he has been very humble person, never made me feel he is the boss, but the leader, team member and, most of the time, the friend to stand by. He  was not only a very talented engineer, but also an amazing spirit I’ll be missing.

  19. George brought so much joy to all but his passing leaves me with an unequal magnitude of sadness that is tenfold.

     

  20. I am deeply saddened to learn of George’s passing. My sincere condolences to his family and colleagues at Langan. George was both a friend and mentor. He was very instrumental in shaping the NJEDA’s Real Estate Program into a positive and innovative development force in our state. George was a dynamic, driven, innovative and helpful individual who will be missed. He certainly did “ not go gentle into that good night”. Rest In Peace George.

    Michael B. Francois, PP, AICP

  21. I worked with George on many of our important projects. He was a close friend and colleague. The most knowledgeable Engineer I know.  He was a true mentor to many of Langan’s employees and his kind, gentle and offering persona will live on thru them. “May the road rise up to meet you George, May the wind be always be at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and, Until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hands.”

    Michael Porcelli

    Executive Vice President

    Sciame Construction

     

     

  22. Dear Kelley Family and the Langan Organization:

    All of us here at Terminal Construction offer our deepest and heartfelt condolences on the passing of George.  He was held in the highest regard amongst all members of TCC, and was a valued member of all the projects that we were directly and/or indirectly involved with Langan.  His optimistic, high energy, intellect and professionalism will be sorely missed throughout the industry.  With the upmost respect and deepest sympathy, we pray he rests in peace.

  23. Mr. Kelley will be sorely missed and never forgotten.  His legacy lives on in every person he so graciously touched.  Our sincerest condolences to all his family, friends and colleagues.

    “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened!”

    -Dr. Seuss

  24. Our deepest condolences.  As a true friend and colleague, he will be truely missed. I can’t remember a project we didnt do without him and his guidance. The mentoring he gave to the employees of Langan was and will always be very apparent. That will live on for ever.

    Executive Vice President,

    Sciame Construction

  25. George was always so nice to me and concerned about my well being. I will miss his smile in the mornings when he came in and I was in the kitchen setting up for the day, and he walked in and said good morning with that smile that could light up a room. He would always ask how I’m doing and he truly seemed genuine in doing so and listened if I really wasn’t having a good day. RIP GPK and to the family my deepest sympathy to you.

    Psalms 30:5 says Weeping may endure for a night, but Joy cometh in the morning. This verse always seems to help me through.

  26. Those of us at Plantscape, who have the pleasure of being a contractor for Langan, send our sympathies to the family and friends of George Kelley. Although I did not know him personally, from what I have read, it appears that he was one of those people who really made a difference in the world. May he rest in peace.

  27. Such a sad loss. Our sincere condolences to his close friends and family. A great person with a great vision, value and ability who will truly be missed by all.

  28. George was one of a few of a vanishing breed. When I first met him, I recognized it. An engineer who everyone listened to with respect, who treated everyone with dignity, and whose word was his bond.

    It was an honor to know him!

     

  29. Working at Langan’s Miami office, I never had the opportunity to work on a project with him, but I certainly interacted with him a lot, listened to him and watched him. He absolutely loved Langan and civil engineering. He always had good advice to give and so much energy to share. He will be dearly missed. It will not be the same going to the NJ meetings and not seeing George. My condolences to Barbara, his children and family.

     

  30. George will be missed, he was a pleasure to work with and his passing brings many memories of working the best solutions possible on sites. Condolences to his family and Langan.

  31. I am deeply saddened to hear of George’s passing. I always enjoyed working with him to solve difficult issues and help Langan recover from problem child clients. He was always generous with his time and guidance.

  32. George was Langan’s True North.  His  character traits should be aspirational . His energy and optimism was unbounded.  What a terrific human being.  A huge void has been left behind.

  33. Dear Langan Colleagues,
    All of us at Test Pit Corporation extend our deepest sympathy to the family and colleagues of George Kelley for their loss.  
    His contributions to the industry will be remembered always.
    Sincerely, 
    Test Pit Corporation 

  34. It is with great sadness that I wish both the Kelley family and George’s Langan family peace after his passing.  His influence, knowledge and camaraderie will be missed.

  35. Our deepest condolences! May his soul rest in eternal peace.
    Amyn Maskati and friends of Langan at Mana Group / M Management.

  36. Very sad news, the engineering world lost and geat, great man.  His projects touched so many people and these people and projects are better for his efforts.

  37. I was truly saddened to hear of George’s passing.  I always enjoyed seeing and working with George.  I had the honor of being in his tour group on Career Night in 2016 and I recall how much he loved sharing his knowledge to future engineers and how excited he was to be able to share his wisdom and experiences with them.  You could see his passion, enthusiasm, and love for Geotechnical Engineering.

  38. There are no words to tell you how sorry we are to hear that. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers from David Howell and the team at Commonwealth Land Title.

  39. I want to extend my condolences to his family. I am new to the Langan family; just got hired this year. I want to thank George P. Kelly for laying down the ground work for which I am currently walking. His hard work created opportunities for people like me. Thank you!

  40. This news breaks my heart.  I had the pleasure of working with George on numerous projects over many years and he was invariably smart, canny, and FUN to work with.  My condolences go out to his family and everyone at Langan.

  41. Very sad news. I had the pleasure working with George for many years on Langan’s brand development. He always made the process an enjoyable experience. My condolences to George’s family and the entire Langan team. RIP George.  Al Morris // Morris Design

  42. What a loss, he will be sorely missed.  On behalf of our team at GlobalSpeak Translations, our deepest condolences.

  43. I am just crushed to read this.  I had the pleasure of working with him for years as outside defense counsel to Langan and he was always fantastic to work with and just a pleasure of a human being.  He will be sorely missed by so many.

  44. George was a mentor to anyone that had the good fortune to work with him. Our deepest condolences from the guys at Densification, Inc.

  45. What a loss.  George was a terrific person and will be sorely missed.  On behalf of the entire Greenberg Traurig family, please accept our most sincere condolences.

     

  46. George Kelley was a mentor to young engineers, even to those not working on his projects.   I recall as a young engineer in training 35 years ago, his stories were a mix of competitive sailing and engineering that framed his mind-set to pursue excellence in all parts of life.

  47. Truly sorry for your loss. Our deepest condolences from the team at Insight Civil Engineering.

  48. I have never known anyone who asked more great questions; actually paid attention to the answers; and solved more problems than George Kelley. Thanks, George, for making all of us not only better at what we do, but also helping to make all of us better people.

  49. My heart hurts. We will miss George in Philly and throughout the firm. Rest well, GPK.

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