Inducted - 2004
Christopher William Bermingham was born June 7, 1929 , the son of Col. Cornelius (Spike) Bermingham and Dorothy Coate. Bill became the third generation owner of Bermingham Construction Limited and led the company through its 100th year of operation as he implemented a vision of new markets and services.
Bill was schooled at the Royal Military College of Canada and proudly lived its motto of "Truth, Duty, Valour". Through rearing, education and experience, Bill Bermingham was able to harness a natural ability to lead, combine it with a genuine appreciative love of nature, and, using military precision, create a vibrantly new future for his company. He did so while maintaining the delicate balance of family, social conscience and work ethic that reflected the integrity in which he believed.
He applied his military training to his work, ensuring that each aspect of a project or new activity was considered. Bill produced intricate drawings of each project undertaken during his leadership of the company, ensuring that every detail was recorded on paper, often in a picture form. Such detailed planning ensured the company considered all of the costs and could anticipate any possible problems.
The same detail was applied to his financial analysis of the company, as he kept personal records of the income, expenses and profit of the company on a monthly basis. Before the days of computer generated bar and pie charts, Bill Bermingham was using pictures to illustrate the financial progress of his company.
A thoughtful, detail-oriented man, it is not surprising that Bill Bermingham would become an inventor of new procedures and equipment in the tunneling and pile driving construction business. He relished developing innovative construction techniques, pioneering equipment and procedures still in use today. One such advancement involved full-face drilling of large diameter holes in rock for caissons and access shafts. He led the company with his own patented design, to develop and market a line of diesel pile hammers which allows piles to be driven at varying radii from the base machine at inclines and at elevations above and below the base of the crane to which it is attached. This development, in particular, gave Bermingham Construction a decided advantage over competitors because the system was less labour intensive and, therefore, more productive and efficient.
Even that advantage did not outweigh his foresight, for Bill shared these advancements with the industry by creating a manufacturing arm of the company to produce and sell the specialized equipment to competitors. Today, long after the patent has expired, Bill Bermingham's design remains a viable one for other pile equipment manufacturers.
He contributed widely to the betterment of his civic and business communities. Bill served as the first President of the Deep Foundation Institute in 1986-87 and was honoured with the DFI Distinguished Service Award in 1992. He served several terms as President of the Ontario Association of Foundation Specialists and with committees of the Ontario Road Builders' Association; in particular, a committee that developed the
Canadian Geotechnical Manual.
Bill Bermingham was also an accomplished artist and dedicated lover of horses, hounds and foxhunting. He became the first Canadian to be President of the Masters of Foxhounds Association. He was passionate about preserving the natural beauty of area land and was an avid recorder of history in Ancaster, of Bermingham Construction Limited, his home and family.
To the observer, it would be difficult to distinguish what was most important to Bill Bermingham - his work, his leisure activities or his family. He gave each in their time his full attention and his full effort using the thoughtful and detailed manner that was the foundation of his success. His meticulous approach to every aspect of his life allowed him to capture the most of each moment.
An extremely well-rounded person, Bill demonstrated the qualities of ethical behavior, innovation and love of family and community that are cherished qualities of the people we induct into the Construction Hall of Fame.