Hamilton Named Fellow of American Society for Health Care Engineering

National group recognizes WSP USA practice lead for his outstanding contributions and innovations in health care facility design and engineering.

Gary Hamilton, senior vice president and healthcare practice lead in the Northeast region of WSP USA, was named a Fellow of the American Society of Healthcare Engineers (ASHE) on July 15 at the organization’s annual conference in Baltimore.

ASHE is an organization for professionals who design, build, maintain and operate health care facilities. Fellow status is granted to active ASHE members who previously achieved Senior status and continue to demonstrate a commitment to the field through leadership, education and publishing in health care engineering.

“ASHE has played an important role in the development of my career in health care engineering,” Hamilton said. “My involvement with the organization has been very rewarding, and I am grateful to be recognized for this honor by my peers.”

Hamilton has written numerous articles for engineering and health care publications, and published a book on computation fluid dynamics application for the engineering industry. He recently published “Mechanical Engineering Design for Hospitals – The Must Know,” which appeared in Engineered Systems magazine on June 11, 2019.

Hamilton, who served as the ASHE representative on the International Code Council Ad Hoc Committee on Healthcare, was elevated to the senior status in 2015. He is the first WSP engineer to achieve Fellow status with ASHE.

Hamilton is the founder of the nonprofit National Capital Region Society of Healthcare Engineers (NCR-SHE), the local ASHE chapter in Washington D.C.

“NCR-SHE is an association for professionals in the field of health care, focusing on facility management,” he said. “The chapter’s purpose is to advance the development of individuals in the health care environment in Washington D.C. and surrounding regions.” The chapter offers educational publications, programs, leadership opportunities and networking events for its membership.

Important Decisions

In his position at WSP, Hamilton is responsible for leading the health care team and business development in the firm’s Arlington office, and client relations in the Washington, D.C. region. He is also the eastern regional health care director of the firm and managed business development, large project pursuits and client relations at the national level.

He serves as the senior project manager for a 478,000-square-foot research and laboratory addition to the medical school on the Walter Reed campus of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command’s Uniform Service University of Health Science in Bethesda, Maryland. This project will comprise approximately 120,000 square feet of laboratories, a bio-safety level (BSL) 3 laboratory and six radiology rooms, including MRIs.

Hamilton is also serving as the project manager for Wexford Hospital in Wexford, Pennsylvania, a 344,000-square-foot 160-bed medical facility targeted for completion in 2021. WSP is providing mechanical-electrical-plumbing-fire protection engineering services for Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network to develop an energy-conscious facility.

Using a design-assist approach in collaboration with the architect, HKS, WSP performed an energy study to compare the benefits of using a central utility plant or a packaged roof top system, using the data to determine that a heat pump chiller central plant was the recommended option to use.

“The thought that someone’s comfort and health depends on the decisions that I make drives my work,” Hamilton said. “With impending changes in health care, quality health care will be an important commodity, making the work of health care engineers much more intricate and sophisticated in order to provide better indoor environments for patients and staff and also more energy efficient systems than in the past.”

In a recent video, Gary Hamilton discussed what is needed to design the operating room of the future.

Inspiration from Injury

Born and raised in Jamaica, Hamilton earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad, and completed his master’s degree in energy engineering at Southbank University in London.

When Hamilton was 19, he suffered a serious knee injury in a bicycle accident that had a profound influence on his decision to pursue a career in health care engineering.

“This ordeal left me bedridden for three months,” he said. “During this time, I wanted to understand how infections can be prevented during surgeries. This developed my passion for health care and my passion for health care engineering.”

His first work related to the construction industry was working as a laborer onsite with an architect that was a friend of the family. “I fell in love with the construction industry from then,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton was a 2015 recipient of Consulting-Specifying Engineer’s 40 Under 40 award, and won two first place technology awards from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) national chapter and ASHRAE region III for the Carilion Clinic operating room renovation project.

In addition to his involvement with ASHE, Hamilton is a certified evidence-based design professional with the Center for Health Design.

Dreams to Reality

One of Hamilton’s proudest achievements is the founding of the nonprofit Dreams to Reality Foundation (DTR), a broad-based community initiative that assists low-income children to help them complete their education and achieve economic self-sufficiency through sports.

“The DTR helps kids develop the self-esteem and self-worth necessary to give them the building blocks for a positive life,” he said. “I was born in a poverty-stricken area of Jamaica and my involvement in sports gave me the tools that is needed to make a better life for myself and my family. For this reason, I created the foundation that is helping youths from my hometown to choose a path that will propel them to a successful life.”

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