Happy 120th Birthday to Gordon Parkhill

Category: History

Written By: Nicole McBride

Date: August 29, 2022

Happy 120th Birthday to Gordon Parkhill cover image

Happy 120th birthday to Parkhill Founder Gordon Wight Parkhill! 

Born on August 29, 1902, Gordon graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M College, now Texas A&M University, in 1924. He worked for the Community Power and Light Company of St. Louis until 1932 when he joined the civil engineering teaching staff at Texas Technical College, now Texas Tech University. He served as a member of the faculty until 1942 and worked his way up to associate professor.

During World War II, Gordon designed airfields and pipelines and earned the rank of captain in the army where he served as a sanitation engineer. With the closing of World War II in 1945, Gordon Parkhill decided to continue serving his community and partnered with Marlin Smith and Clarence Cooper to found Parkhill, Smith & Cooper – Consulting Engineers (PSC), now Parkhill.

The three friends allegedly decided on the name by flipping a coin to determine whose name would be listed first. Parkhill seemed to be the leader of the three, so it was suitable that his name was listed first.

In 1958 Gordon moved to El Paso to start PSC's second location. He later became PSC's first firm president in 1963.

Gordon's study of the El Paso sewerage system formed the basis for a sewerage bond election. He also drafted the master plan for drainage in El Paso’s Lower Valley and worked on many contracts at Fort Bliss and other area military base installations. In 1965, Gordon was named El Paso's Engineer of the Year by the local chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers.

An article in the El Paso Herald-Post responded, "We graduates of Texas A&M have a custom at our annual musters of calling the names of departed comrades. Those of us who are present answer ‘here’ for those who have gone. Each of you can recall those who have helped you. At this time, I can answer ‘here’ for many who have helped me in my career. To them go my gratitude and my thanks for this high honor.”

Wastewater projects were said to be Gordon’s peak interest. Joe Cardenas, who worked with him in the El Paso office, said Gordon would enthusiastically call them his “bread and butter.”