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Ahearn, Joseph A.


Joseph A. “Bud” Ahearn, P.E., Dist.M.ASCE
Vice Chairman 

Joseph A. “Bud” Ahearn exemplifies a lifetime of devotion to service of his country, the engineering profession and the community.  His distinguished military career, achieving the rank of Major General in the U.S. Air Force, spans three decades where he was responsible for shaping financial strategy, developing budgets and executing infrastructure programs totaling in excess of $7 billion annually.  Complementing his experience in the Defense Department, he has 14 years of experience in the private sector with CH2M HILL, delivering major infrastructure projects by developing innovative solutions.  He also holds numerous leadership positions in professional societies, foundations and other civic organizations, and is actively engaged in the Society of American Military Engineers, Engineers Without Borders U.S.A., American Institute of Architects, American Society of Civil Engineers and the National Academy of Construction.

Military Experience: Thirty-four years in highly responsible and diverse engineering/construction/facility maintenance organizations.  His experience was built on fast track in the United States and international regions, and his performance in a multitude of nationally and internationally significant assignments led to accelerated promotions to senior executive leadership positions.  As the Senior Civil Engineer for the U.S. Air Force, he functioned both as a military combat engineer and as the head of the Air Force’s global, multi-billion dollar engineering and property management enterprise (the global network of air and space bases.) 

Private Sector Experience: Fourteen years in progressively more responsible and diverse planning, engineering, construction and operations positions with CH2M HILL.  Joining CH2M HILL in 1992, he helped transform the company into a global full-service firm, serving as the firm’s lead strategic planner, chair of the taskforce to implement Alternative Project Delivery Systems, Northeast Regional Manager, President of the Transportation Business Group and currently Vice Chairman.  As the firm’s Talent Management Program sponsor and strategist, he developed and implemented succession planning, executive development and high-potential programs.

Organizational Leadership: Planned, organized, and led multi-disciplinary teams to assess and improve the “health” of operating military organizations.  Team members were aviators, space scientists, logisticians, financial managers, transportation experts, contracting specialists, architects and engineers.  The charter…improve operations.  The approach…assess, coach, author books, educate, train and follow-up.  He authored and sponsored books/policy documents which include “Civil Engineering Doctrine;” “Foundations, Building on Success;” “Commander’s Guide to Environmental Quality;” “Commander’s Guide, Air Force Installation Development;” Air Force Design Awards brochures; “Airman Community Development Guide;” “Bridging;” “Air Force Project Manager’s Guide for Design and Construction;” “Parametric Cost Estimating;” and “Combat Air Base.”


M.S., Engineering Administration, Syracuse University, 1967

B.S., Civil Engineering, University of Notre Dame, 1958

Industrial College of the Armed Services, 1979

National Security Policy, Advanced Management Program, Harvard University, 1988

Professional Registration:

Professional Engineer:  Massachusetts

Membership in Professional Organizations:

American Institute of Architects

American Public Works Association

American Society of Civil Engineers

Centurions of the Archdiocese for the Military Services of the United States

Civil Engineering Research Foundation

            Former Vice Chairman, Board of Directors

            Member of Executive Committee, Corporate Advisory Board

            Panel Chairman, National Civil Engineering Research Needs Forum

National Academy of Engineering

            Member, Building Futures Council

National Academy of Construction

National Society of Professional Engineers

Professional Housing Management Association

Society of Military Engineers

            Former National President

            Former Member, Board of Directors

            Former Chair, Academy of Fellows

Honors and Awards: 

Air Force Order of the Sword, 1991.  The highest honor the Noncommissioned Officer Corps of the United States Air Force can bestow in recognition of extraordinary service to the military enlisted ranks and the United States of America.

Honorary Member, American Institute of Architects, 1991.

University of Notre Dame College of Engineering Honor Award for Professional Achievement, 1990.

American Society of Civil Engineers’ Presidents Award for Distinguished Service to Country and the Civil Engineering Profession, 1999.

Newman Medal, Society of American Military Engineers, for outstanding military engineering achievement in Europe from the United States and its allies, 1983.

Numerous military awards, including Distinguished Service Cross, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and the Medal of Honor from the Federal Republic of Germany.