Feniosky Peña-Mora, Sc.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, a civil engineer who has brought a lifetime of excellence to education, practice, research, service, and public engagement, has been honored with inclusion by ASCE in its 2023 class of distinguished members for leadership and innovation in education, research, and process integration during the design and development of large-scale civil engineering.
Peña-Mora is the Edwin Howard Armstrong professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics, professor of earth and environmental engineering, and professor of computer science at Columbia University. His record demonstrates an integrated and well-rounded approach to developing and fostering diversity of thought, enabling innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives in engineering management.
At Columbia, he is also the executive director of the Center for Buildings, Infrastructure, and Public Space, which identifies how best to design, construct, and manage buildings, infrastructure, and civic space, emphasizing functionality, sustainability, and resilience. The Center catalyzes economic success and urban creativity to help the future of cities.
As dean of the Columbia School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Peña-Mora was responsible for setting the school’s strategic direction and managing a $400 million endowment, a $200 million budget, and 4,500 students and faculty members. He led changes to the school, transforming it into one of the world’s premier engineering institutions.
Peña-Mora served as the New York City commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction (2014-17). He oversaw over 1,200 projects valued at more than $15 billion undertaken by over 1,400 employees and almost as many consultants. Under his leadership, significant projects included the new $750 million New York Police Academy, the new $640 million NYC 911 Emergency Public Safety Answering Center, and Times Square reconstruction. During this period, the agency undertook the most ambitious and complex projects in its history and won 80-plus design and professional awards.
He has also served as associate provost and the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, leading the university’s interdisciplinary, diversity, and entrepreneurial initiatives.
Throughout his career, he has continually demonstrated the skill to lead academic and public institutions to be both competitive and innovative while still accomplishing their legacy missions.
Peña-Mora is the author of more than 230 scholarly publications, holds six patents, and has garnered a passel of awards. He was honored by President Clinton with the 2000 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. He has also received the National Scientist Foundation CAREER Award and the FIATECH Engineering & Technology Innovation Award. Among his recognitions from ASCE are the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, the James R. Croes Medal, the Computing in Civil Engineering Award, the Construction Management Award, and several Best Paper awards in the Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering, the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, and the Journal of Management in Engineering.
He is a member of the boards of New York City Health & Hospitals and of the ACE Mentor Program of Greater New York. For ASCE, Peña-Mora served as At-Large Society Director as well as chair of the Industry Leaders Council and the Board Strategy Advisory Committee.