Science Pub Portland: Building Grand Coulee Dam

JAN 16, 2018 | 7-9PM



Building Grand Coulee Dam

With Raymond “Paul” Giroux, Dist. M. ASCE, Senior Estimating Manager at Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.

January 16, 2018 | Doors Open @ 5PM 

$5 advance purchase for guaranteed seats; $5 suggested donation at the door. Tickets available online or at the OMSI front desk until 12am the day prior to the event; see below for details.



During the early twentieth century harnessing the water potential of the mighty Columbia River was essential to the growth of the Northwest United States.   With river flows in excess of 300,000 cubic feet per second, building the biggest concrete dam in the world in a remote area of eastern Washington was seemingly impossible.  With construction beginning during the Great Depression, the success of the project was not only essential to America’s long term interests, but also instrumental in providing jobs for thousands of people and restoring hope to an entire region of the country.


In the decades preceding Grand Coulee Dam’s construction, tremendous advancements were realized in every discipline of engineering.  This presentation highlights how the right men, the right, machines, and the right methods all came together in 1934 to build a project of unprecedented scope and challenges. 


Raymond “Paul” Giroux received his BS in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University in 1979.  For the past four decades, he has been with Kiewit Corporation, working on a wide variety of heavy civil engineering mega projects throughout the United States. Paul played a key role in notable projects such as the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore, several projects on the Big Dig in Boston including the new Zakim/Bunker Hill Bridge, the new San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge East Span, and many other projects.  


Paul serves on the Iowa State University Civil Engineering Advisory Board, the Transportation Research Board, and several American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) committees. 


In 2008, he was the ASCE Chairman and featured speaker for Brooklyn Bridge 125th Celebration in New York and, in 2010, he presented the closing speech at the ASCE Hoover Dam 75th Anniversary Symposium in Las Vegas.  In 2012, Paul served as the ASCE Chairman and principal lecturer for the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary.  In 2014, Paul was a featured speaker at Global Engineering Conference to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal. 


Paul is the author of several bridge design and civil engineering history papers.  He is also an active public speaker having presented over 200 lectures and seminars at over 60 engineering schools throughout the United States and other international venues.  Paul was the recipient of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Civil Engineering History and Heritage Award for 2013, the G. Brooks Earnest Award in 2015, was elected a Distinguished Member of ASCE in 2016, and received the ASCE Roebling Award for Construction Engineering in 2017.  

OMSI Science Pub at the Empirical Theater will be a ticketed event. To guarantee a seat at this event, please buy tickets online or at the OMSI front desk before 2pm the day of the event. Please show your ticket at the theater entrance upon arrival.


If the event sells out, we will update the website and Facebook listings accordingly. If the event does not sell out in advance, attendance will be first-come, first-served at the door and at-the-door admission will remain a suggested donation.


There will no longer be official seat reservations available at the door. You are welcome to reserve a seat with your jacket or sweater.

Science Pub OMSI is a monthly event that is open to anyone and everyone – no scientific background required. Just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks and knowledge! For more information or to sign up for our mailing list, email:


Pizza and salads will be available in our restaurant, Theory, and sandwichs and snacks from the Empirical Café. Guests can check-in at the theater entrance and find a seat before grabbing dinner and drinks. Food and drink are welcome in the theater. Parking is free for the event. Doors open at 5pm.


For more information or to sign up for our mailing list, email: