Dr. Michael Maher Obituary, Death – Dr. Michael Maher spent his whole career at Golder Associates Ltd., which is now a part of WSP. There, he worked as a geotechnical, pavement, and materials engineer. Michael began his career as a geotechnical engineer with Golder in London, Canada in 1978. Michael was born in Ireland and acquired his education there. He received his doctorate in materials engineering from Trinity College in Dublin.
Michael relocated to the east coast in the early 1980s in order to strengthen and expand Golder’s office in St. John’s, which was located in Newfoundland. In 1990, he moved back to Ontario in order to take part in the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Materials Engineering in the relatively young Whitby office alongside a small group of his former colleagues. Michael was the primary impetus behind the establishment of Whitby’s cutting-edge materials laboratory, the dissemination of Superpave technology throughout Golder, and the growth of Golder’s materials engineering company in Canada.
Michael, who never passes up an opportunity for a challenge, uprooted his life and moved to Qatar for a year to open a Golder office. While there, he established a prosperous practice in the field of transportation work. After that, he moved back to Canada to continue developing his materials engineering practice. Michael relocated back to Ireland in 2005 and took a job in the Naas (Dublin) office, where the majority of his time was spent conducting pyrite heave investigations and the subsequent litigation work that resulted from those investigations.
In 2010, he moved back to Whitby, Canada, where he continued to offer his knowledge as a materials engineer on projects located all over the world. These projects ranged from residential and civil infrastructure, roads and highways, to airfields, dams, and mines. Michael has spent the last few decades of his career working to solve a number of problems associated with building materials in his home country of Ireland.
He has also conducted research into the effects of pyrite in structural fill aggregates, which he has used to support litigation work in a number of high-profile legal cases in Dublin and beyond. After returning from Ireland to Ontario, he continued his career in the legal field, which eventually led him to become involved in the debates that surrounded the use of pyrrhotite in concrete in Quebec. Throughout his career, Michael was actively involved in a wide variety of organizations and committees that promoted the establishment, vetting, and improvement of technical standards. Some of these organizations include the Transportation Research Board in the United States, CCIL, SWIFT, and CTAA in Canada, and the National Standards Association of Ireland.
Michael’s efforts promoted the establishment of new technical standards, as well as the improvement of existing ones. In addition to that, he was an active participant in the Canadian Arbitration and Mediation Institute. He is the author of more than one hundred technical papers and articles that have been published in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. These papers and articles cover topics such as pavement evaluation, construction materials, pyritic aggregates, and the application of sustainability principles to road rehabilitation strategies.
He frequently coaches and collaborates with junior colleagues in these endeavors. Michael gave about two hundred different technical presentations on the aforementioned topics. He contributed to the most recent, 5th edition (2015) of “Highways” by O’Flaherty, which is likely one of the most popular and important books for highway engineers around the globe, by writing Chapter 4, “Soils and soil testing for roadworks.” As a result, he was able to share his knowledge and experience with a large number of people. Recently, while enjoying a period of semi-retirement, he found the time and energy to create a book on pyrite and pyrrhotite, which is about to be made available to the public very soon.