John Kissinger named 2018 Engineer of the Year

John Kissinger has been a practicing Engineer since graduating from UW Milwaukee in late 1979. His career was interrupted briefly to attend graduate school at UW Madison in 1981, but even then he worked part-time as a structural engineer for a large architectural firm.

John Kissinger President & CEO   GRAEF

John Kissinger
President & CEO

Over this long career John has been responsible and intimately involved in the design and construction of dozens of “ordinary” structures including office buildings, medical facilities, manufacturing facilities, institutional and university facilities, and many other types. He has also had the good fortune to work on, and often manage, large multi-discipline teams on some of the more recognizable structures in the Midwest, including McCormick Place West Addition in Chicago, Lambeau Field Renovation in Green Bay, the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee Art Museum Addition in Milwaukee. For the Art Museum Addition, John collaborated with world renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, who is also a trained structural engineer, on a building that Time Magazine named the “Number 1 design of 2001”. For his work on this project, John was personally honored as one of the “Top 25 Newsmakers” in engineering by Engineering News Record in 2002.

The projects listed above had budgets ranging from $125M to $825M, and all are major icons in their cities and beyond. As you know, all building projects are team efforts between the owner, contractors, architects, engineers and other consultants. John’s work on all of these was as a core and major member of the design and construction team. The innovative designs that John’s GRAEF-led teams delivered on these projects resulted in regional, national and even international design awards for GRAEF and other design team members. John has worked with concrete, structural steel, masonry, wood and other building materials during his career as a consulting engineer, and never specialized.

After a very long and successful career as a design engineer and project manager, John’s focus turned to managing the firm, growing the firm, and interacting with clients and the community at a frequent and deep level. This led to him being named a GRAEF Principal in 1994, a member of GRAEF’s Board of Directors in 2002, and the President and CEO of GRAEF in 2011. In this role, John is ultimately responsible for GRAEF’s 250-plus employees, its 9 offices in the Midwest and Southeast, and the satisfaction of thousands of clients. John can use his engineering training in this role to help break down and solve problems that have sometimes appeared to have no solution.

Since becoming President and CEO John has been active as a promoter of the consulting engineering business, as a board member and future Board Chair of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin, and a director of ACEC National. He has been a class advisor to two cohorts of the ACEC WI Future Leaders Institute. For his Leadership Institute Advisor role, John received the Chairman’s Award from ACEC-WI.