GHA Connections: John Briggs


GHA Connections: John Briggs, P.E. in front of CAD drawings of the Banbury Road project.

In the field of municipal engineering, experience and adaptability are not just valuable; they are essential. John Briggs, P.E., embodies these qualities, bringing more than 29 years of industry expertise to Gewalt Hamilton Associates, Inc. (GHA), where he has been a reliable presence for the past 12 years. John’s journey in the field is a clear demonstration of the power of hands-on learning and the importance of relationships, both of which have been fundamental aspects of his career and have shaped his unique perspective on engineering.

From his early days of construction inspection to his current role, John has always been one to embrace the full spectrum of engineering tasks. “I wasn’t originally allowed to do design work, so I focused on different aspects of engineering, from survey to CAD,” John recalls. This immersion in the different stages of engineering provided him with valuable insights into how things are built, insights that have enhanced his design work. “Having that first-hand experience out in the field, learning how things are put together, has been crucial to my approach towards design,” he shares.

John’s preference for being hands-on is evident in his continued involvement with CAD work and his frequent visits to construction sites. “I like getting out and getting dirty,” he says with a chuckle. “It keeps me connected to the real-world challenges and successes of our projects.” His approach is not just about being on the ground; it’s about understanding the complexities of each task and the people who carry them out.

Joining GHA was a decision influenced by the firm’s reputation. “You hear things in this industry, and I never heard anything but positives about GHA,” John explains. This feedback reflects the firm’s commitment to quality service and client relationships, values that John shares.

The importance of relationships in the industry cannot be overstated, and John has long-term connections with several local municipalities. “It’s about who you trust, who has your best interests in mind, and who will work best with you to create mutually beneficial outcomes,” he emphasizes. These relationships are not just with leaders and decision-makers but also with the crews who do the work, the heart, and soul of any project.

Technology has revolutionized the field of engineering, something John has witnessed firsthand and embraced. “Everything is so much faster now with tech,” he observes. “It leads to a better use of time, and the days of ‘red lining’ are long gone.” But for John, technology is a tool that enhances rather than replaces the fundamental aspects of engineering—problem-solving and design. “Ultimately, it’s about using these advancements to continue to provide creative solutions.”

As GHA looks to the future, the Municipal Services Division continues to embrace a collaborative approach, one that builds on the strong foundation laid by professionals like John. Leo Morand, P.E., Director of Municipal Services, notes, “John’s depth of experience and his hands-on approach have been crucial to our team. As we continue to evolve, we’re integrating these strengths into a collaborative model that leverages diverse expertise and fosters teamwork.”

John’s contributions have set a high standard for the division, and his methodology will continue to influence its evolution. “The future of municipal engineering at GHA is about bringing together the best of what each of us has to offer,” John says. “It’s about combining our skills, learning from one another, and ultimately providing the best possible service to our clients and our communities.”

John Briggs is more than an engineer; he’s a mentor, a collaborator, and a visionary within GHA. His story is a reminder that while the tools and methods may evolve, the core of engineering remains the same: solving problems, building relationships, and improving the world around us.