In memory of Bill Maher
William F. Maher, late president of McKinney Drilling Company, passed away Saturday, November 18, 2017 at the age of 66. Bill spent nearly a half century with McKinney.
After their father’s untimely death, Bill and his seven young siblings were raised by his mother, who worked at McKinney for 37 years and ensured all her children graduated college. Bill followed in her footsteps and went to work for McKinney after high school as a laborer, salaried foreman, and then superintendent.
In September 1981, Bill received a life-changing call from President Jack McKinney asking him to leave the Philadelphia office and go to Alaska. After completing a section of the Alaska pipeline, McKinney had opened a general construction company in the state. Bill was asked to help out on a problematic Department of Housing and Urban Development project that was behind schedule. Due to harsh conditions, Bill and his team had only five months to finish building 65 houses in an area with no roads. Floating materials down the river, Maher and staff finished the houses on time while simultaneously completing a challenging dock project.
Bill moved from Alaska to take over the DC office, turning it into one of McKinney’s most successful locations. From there he relocated again to Pittsburgh and became McKinney’s vice-president for the northeast, successfully growing that office, as well. In 2005, he was appointed president and made his final career move back to Philadelphia.
Bill spent many years serving The International Association of Foundation Drilling (ADSC) beginning with his election to the Board of Directors in 2000. In 2003, he was selected to ADSC's Executive Committee, ultimately serving as president. After his term of service, Bill and his wife Denise continued to remain involved in ADSC.
In an interview before his death, Bill reflected fondly on his proudest moments: his Alaska and D.C. endeavors, Keller’s safety program, very successful joint ventures with fellow Keller company Case Foundation, and assisting at the Pentagon and in New York post-9/11.
What I’m most proud of is keeping McKinney a family company. To be able to provide good jobs for these wonderful people is my greatest accomplishment. They are our greatest asset.
Bill is survived by his abounding family including his wife, Denise M. (nee Wheatley), and three children: Megan Sweitzer, Erin Colleen Maher, and William F.
He will be deeply missed.