Robert E. Hirschman Leaves an Enduring Legacy

Portrait of Robert E. Hirschman
Portrait of Robert E. Hirschman

When our fourth generation family owned business was reorganized in 1983, a name search ensued and the solution became obvious: REH Holdings, Inc. was named in honor of Robert E. Hirschman – our founding father.

Bob became active in the business in the early days and set the tone for the company up until his death in 2007 at age 88.  Under his leadership the H. J. Williams Co., Inc. became a diversified heavy and highway road builder doing significant excavation, bridge, asphalt, and concrete paving projects in Pennsylvania and Maryland.  He was instrumental in the acquisition and diversification of the company into the guardrail, sign, and manufacturing businesses.  Most of all, Bob was a man of integrity and empowered all associated with him to “do it right.”

Bob was a distinguished transportation construction industry leader at both the state and national levels for over four decades.  At the time of his passing, he was chairman of REH Holdings, Inc., the parent company for the highway safety construction firms Elderlee, Inc. and L.S. Lee, Inc.   He was past president of H. J. Williams Company, Inc., and Buffalo Specialty Products, Inc.

Bob, a long-time member for the America Road and Transportation Builder Association (ARTBA) Board of Directors, served as ARTBA Chairman from June 1984 until July 1985.  He was involved in numerous ARTBA committees over the years, including service for 12 years as co-chair to the AASHTO-AGC-ARTBA Joint Committee. 

In 2002, Bob was the recipient of the “ARTBA Award,: the association’s highest honor and also received the “Nello L. Teer, Jr. Award” for outstanding contributions to the transportation construction industry through the Contractors Division.  In 2004, Bob was recognized by the association as one of the “Top 100 Private Sector Transportation Design and Construction Professionals of the 20th Century.”

In addition to his service with ARTBA, Bob was a past president and served on the board of directors of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors, the Maryland Highway Contractors Association, and the American Concrete Pavement Association. 

He was also the recipient of the ACPA’s “Hartmann-Hirschman Outstanding Achievement Award” (1987) that was named in his honor, the American Society of Highway Engineers “Man of the Year” (1981), and the Pennsylvania highway Information Association “Man of the Year” (1993).  He was inducted into the Maryland Highway Contractors Association Hall of Leadership in 1999.

His other business involvements included past president of Briarwood and Manada Golf Club and past chairman of Penn National Turf Club, Inc.  Bob also served on the board of directors of the Drovers Bank (1966-1994).  Bob’s one daughter, Connie H. Shorb is married to Basil A. Shorb III, Chairman of the Board of REH Holdings.  They have two sons; Matthew R. Shorb, CEO (York, PA) and Mark A. Shorb, not active in the family business (Wenatchee, WA).

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