Gannon University Alumna Influences Documentary on History Channel
Posted: April 11, 2015
Meg VanderLaan loves a big story, so when the Gannon University
graduate found one, she knew just what to do with it.
The result is "Panama Canal Supersized," a one-hour documentary
airing at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 11 on the History Channel's
"Modern Marvels" series.
The program details the $5.5 billion expansion of the Panama
Canal, a project in which MWH Global, an engineering firm
headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, is a leading
As the firm's chief communications officer, VanderLaan, got a
first-hand look at the enormous project, which includes the
installation of new locks that will permit ships to carry three
times the volume of cargo carried today.
Through her career, she had also developed relationships with
filmmakers and broadcast producers, a role familiar to her since
her days in the radio and television studios at Gannon in the late
"This project was made for television and I new I had to find a
way to bring this story to the widest number of people," VanderLaan
Through relationships she had established with the Panama Canal
Authority's publicity team, a former NBC News executive and a pair
of Los Angeles filmmakers, VanderLaan brought the program into
The results are striking, and include a tour through underground
channels in the locks while water rushes in, pouring concrete into
a form that is ten stories high, and the fabrication of the immense
gates for the new locks, as well as interviews with the MWH
engineers who designed this gargantuan project.
To VanderLaan, the making of the documentary was itself a large
project, but also a labor of love VanderLaan credits the production
team at Radiant Features with their ability to bring this story to
life.. "Stories are what link us together as humans," she said, and
the Panama Canal project is a very big story indeed.