2006 Distinguished achievement award: Gilbert Gerdman

// Civil & Environmental Engineering

Tags: alumni, CEE E-Day, Engineers' Day, Gilbert Gerdman

Share this story:

Gilbert C. Gerdman 
Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
MSA Professional Services, Inc.
BSCE ’66
Baraboo, WI

Gilbert C. Gerdman’s career has enabled him to focus on two activities he loves: being outdoors and building things. His father, a tool and dye maker at A.O. Smith in Milwaukee, stimulated his interest in engineering. When Gerdman learned that as a civil engineer he could work outside, his occupational goal was set. It certainly sounded better to him than working in an office.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1966 and a master’s degree in water resources management in 1967 from UW-Madison. Gerdman fondly remembers Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Gerard (Gerry) Rohlich, who, no matter how busy, would make time to talk with students and help guide them in their career plans.

After working briefly at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Gerdman became one of the first eight employees at MSA Service Professionals, Baraboo, Wisconsin. Specializing in environmental and transportation services, the engineering firm now has 12 Midwest offices.

Gerdman began at MSA as a municipal and environmental engineer and advanced to CEO and chairman of the board, the offices he now holds. He is particularly pleased to head a company that is employee-owned because it provides each of the more than 300 employees a chance to participate in the firm’s direction, as well as to reap its benefits.

His professional honors include a Young Engineer of the Year award in 1978 and an Engineer of the Year in Private Practice award in 1989. He has also been president and an active member of the Wisconsin Association of Consulting Engineers.

A native of Milwaukee, Gerdman lives in Baraboo, where he thrives on meeting people and playing a role in the community’s direction. Enthusiastically committed to improving life in Baraboo, he is a current or past member of a dozen business and civic organizations, including the International Crane Foundation, the Baraboo Range Commission, and the Boys and Girls Club. An avid outdoorsman, he hunts, fishes and camps, and was a member of the DNR Canada Goose Task Force from 1988 to 1995. He and his family have a cottage in the Door County area.

Gerdman and his wife, Lynn, a retired school teacher, have two sons: David, a civil engineer who works on DNR wastewater projects in Green Bay, and Daniel, who earned an MBA and works for Kimberly-Clark in Appleton.