In Memory of David E. Thompson, PE, GBA Fellow, and Retired Chairman and CEO of Haley & Aldrich

Source: Abbie R. Goodman, Executive Director, American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA)

David E. Thompson, 82, of Hamilton, formerly of Brookline, retired chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Haley & Aldrich Inc. of Boston, passed away from pancreatic cancer on October 31, 2022.

He was the adored husband of Deborah E. (Marks) Thompson. Born in Norwood, he was the son of the late Robert and Frances (Campbell) Thompson.

He was a graduate of Brookline High School with the class of 1958. David  excelled in  sports at    Brookline High and was a co-captain of the football and indoor-outdoor high school track teams. He was named to the Boston Globe and  Herald All-Scholastic football teams and the national high school All-American  Football Team. David also received the Stanley M. Livingston Cup Award and the Joseph P. Helpern Memorial Trophy Award. Mr. Thompson was awarded the Bennett Memorial Scholarship            for Academics and Athletics and furthered  his education by attending Tufts University in Boston. While at Tufts, he was elected co-captain of the football team and was named a member of the ECAC All East Football Team for two years.

David was truly talented in this sport and was awarded the team’s Most Valuable Player in 1991 as well as being named the Clarence P. Houston Award as Athlete of the Year. Mr. Thompson was honored as only one of eight National Scholar Athletes by the National Football Foundation at the NCAA banquet in New York City. His award was presented to him by the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy and the Master of Ceremonies was Bob Hope. The National Football Foundation also inducted him into the College Hall of Fame in 1961 and awarded him the Earl R. Blaik Fellowship award for graduate studies.

David was also a standout co-captain of the indoor-outdoor track teams and earned all-New England recognition for his performance in the hurdle event. In 1962, David entered the military as a proud member of the United States Marine Corps. He earned the rank of captain and served his country during the Vietnam War. He was a member of the Marine Corps Football Team and served as co-captain.

David joined the Inter-Service All Star Team in 1962 and played in the Service Super Bowl in Seoul, Korea in 1963. He was discharged from active duty honorably in 1966 and subsequently served two more years in the active marine corps reserves while earning his master’s degree in civil engineering at Tufts University in 1968. Mr. Thompson had over 40 years of experience in geotechnical engineering and is recognized as a leader in his field.

He joined Haley & Aldrich, Inc. in Boston in 1967 and had served in senior management positions with the firm for over 20 years. He was CEO from 1990 until 2000 and served as chairman of the board from 1995 until 2005.

During his tenure with the firm, he helped it evolve from a local practice with one office in Boston to a nationally recognized practice with 21 offices throughout the United States and two subsidiaries.

David served as a project manager or principal-in-charge on over 1,000 projects completed by the firm. Following his retirement, David continued to provide consulting and expert services.
He actively participated as an expert witness at litigation, mediation, and arbitration for many years and was also a frequent lecturer in professional practice issues. I recall that he lectured with David Hatem on campus at Tufts over many years.

Mr. Thompson also published numerous technical papers throughout his career. David served proudly on the boards of numerous business associations throughout his career. He was the president of ASFE/The Geoprofessional Business Association, chairman of ASFE’s Council of Fellows and president of the National Council for Geo-Engineering and Constructions.

He also was the chairman of the Foundation for Professional Practice and Chairman of Terra Insurance Company. He was also active in ACEC/Massachusetts and The Engineering Center Education Trust.

Mr. Thompson was the recipient of the John I. Parcel-Leif J. Sverdrup Civil Engineering Management Award in 2001 by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

In addition to his devoted and loving wife Debbie with whom he shared 18 years of marriage, he is survived by two sons, Paul Thompson and his wife Pamela of Ipswich, and Scott Thompson and his wife Nga of Nashua, N.H.; four grandchildren, Michelle Goodrich of Wilmington, Rhiannan Mulkern of Danvers and Steven and Julie Thompson of Nashua, N.H.; one great-granddaughter, Adley Goodrich of Wilmington and one sister, Margaret Anderson of Billerica.

Thompson family would like to thank everyone at Care Dimensions for their kindness and support of David.

A Celebration of David’s Life will be held at the Myopia Hunt Club, 435 Bay Road, South Hamilton on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at 11 a.m. Relatives and friends are invited to attend.

Interment will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers, donations in David’s name may be made to Care Dimensions, c/o the Kaplan Family Hospice House, 75 Sylvan Street, Suite B-102, Danvers, MA 01923.
Arrangements by the Campbell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street, Beverly. Information, directions, condolences at

May his memory be a blessing.