Academy of Distinguished Alumni
George J. Pierson M.S., P.E., Esq.
Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on
George Pierson received his M.S. degree (1985) in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. His graduate school focus was in structural engineering. He also received a B.S. degree (1984) in Civil Engineering from Bucknell University, a Juris Doctor (1990) from Harvard Law School, and an MBA (1995) from St. Mary’s College of California. Prior to earning his law degree, Mr. Pierson worked at the engineering firm Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc. in Walnut Creek, California during which time he obtained his professional engineer license. After his law degree, he joined a San Francisco law firm before taking on a series of increasingly senior management and executive positions in the engineering and consulting industry.
Since 2016, Mr. Pierson has led Kleinfelder, an 1,800-person engineering and consulting firm headquartered in southern California, first as President and CEO, and presently as Executive Chairman. At Kleinfelder, he restructured the organization, recruited new talent, and increased the firm's operational performance and profitability. From 2010 through 2014, he served as President and CEO of Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), a 130-year-old global engineering firm headquartered in the City of New York with 14,000 employees in 150 offices. Prior to his role as President and CEO, Mr. Pierson served as COO of PB, with responsibility for their operations in the Americas and overseeing projects in the transportation, power, and water resource sectors. Upon first joining PB in 2006, he was responsible for leading the team that resolved the firm’s legal challenges related to the Boston Central Artery/Tunnel Project (the “Big Dig”). Mr. Pierson has also served on numerous other corporate boards, including WSP, Petrofac Ltd, Terracon, CTSI, and Rail Works, Inc.
Amongst his professional recognitions, Mr. Pierson received the ASCE 2016 Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Lifetime Achievement Award for Management. In 2015, Engineering News Record (ENR) named him a Top 25 Newsmaker and in 2014, he was elected to the National Academy of Construction. He received the Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Alumni of the Year award in 2013. In 2012, he received the ASCE Purcell Sverdrup Award for Engineering Management, and in 2010, he was named a Distinguished Engineering Alumni of his undergraduate alma mater, Bucknell. In 2010, he was also invited to become a member of The Moles, the most prestigious fraternal organization of the heavy construction industry. In giving back to the profession, he led the establishment of the Engineering Success Alliance, an academic success program at Bucknell that supports engineering students from under-resourced high schools and he served on the Executive Committee of the ACE (Architecture-Construction-Engineering) Mentoring Program.
Mr. Pierson has been a long-time supporter of the Berkeley CEE program, through contributions from PB during his time there, and more recently through Kleinfelder.