Eugene McGovern, founder of Lehrer McGovern, a company which grew to become one of the largest construction companies in the world, died on January 22 in New York City. He was 72.
A master builder, Mr McGovern co-founded Lehrer McGovern, Inc. in 1979. The company later merged into Bovis Ltd and, subsequently, Lend Lease.
Gene was born in Manhattan on January 29, 1941 to Julie and Frank McGovern. Gene’s remarkable career as a leader in the construction industry spanned 50 years, and he was responsible for some of the largest and most visible projects ever constructed, such as Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur , Euro Disney in Paris, Canary Wharf in London, the renovation of the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island and hundreds of monumental undertakings. A man of imposing presence and personality, he innovated techniques that revolutionized the construction industry. Gene not only led and managed thousands of workers, but took the time to train and personally mentor hundreds of people.
Besides taking time to build a company, Gene was one of the founding members of the most important trade association in New York, CAGNY. After a long career in the United States, Gene ventured to Europe and Asia in the late 1980’s and 1990’s to create and manage companies and projects and adapted to all cultures and challenges he faced. No project or task was ever too complicated. Gene was one of the three arbitrators in settling the disputes at Ground Zero, and later was responsible for helping to steer the September 11 Memorial and Museum project to a timely completion.
Gene, with his trademark cowboy boots and ever present cigar, left memorable impacts on every life he touched, and created a legacy that will live on. With a dry sense of humor and absolute candor, Gene made things happen when he was on the scene, and the impossible became possible. Unquestionably, he was truly bigger than life, and a giant in the world of construction.
Gene leaves behind his wife Lisa, his former wife, Phyllis, and four children, Eric ( Donna) ,
Danny (Tessa), Derek ( Gina) and PJ (Allan) and 13 grandchildren; Ryan, Jordan, Christopher, Danielle, Phillip, Colton, Katie, Tyler, Garrett, Dillon McGovern and Gene, Maxx and PJ Middleton, and two sisters Lorna Mion and Patti Hahn and one brother Brian. McGovern and 4 dogs, Roscoe, Brie, Bogey & Ginger. A true patriarch in every sense, as a family man, father, and grandfather devoted to his family. We will miss him and cherish the time we knew him.