Jacobs CEO to deliver annual engineering lecture

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LAWRENCE — Craig Martin, leader of one of the world’s largest engineering services firms, will deliver the 2011 Distinguished Engineering Lecture at the University of Kansas.

Martin, a 1972 KU School of Engineering graduate, will return to campus to speak before students, faculty and guests at 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, in the Spahr Engineering Classroom in Eaton Hall.

As CEO of Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., he oversees a company with 60,000 employees worldwide that provides full-spectrum architecture, engineering and construction support to industrial, commercial and government clients. In 2010, Jacobs brought in nearly $10 billion in revenue.

Martin plans to focus his talk on the skills the next generation of engineers will need for success.

“The best advice I can give engineering students is to invest some of your time at KU working on your business writing and interpersonal communication skills. These are two skills engineers generally aren’t proficient in, but you’ll see over and over again throughout the course of your career how important they are, particularly if you’re interested in pursuing a leadership position,” Martin said.

Jacobs has more than 160 offices in over 25 countries, with operations in North America, Europe, South America, the Middle East, India, Australia, Africa and Asia.

After graduating from KU in 1972, Martin started his engineering career at Martin K. Eby Construction. In 1983, he moved to CRSS, working in the company’s construction management business. Martin moved to Jacobs Engineering in 1994 when it acquired CRSS, and he served in various senior and executive positions until his promotion to Jacobs’ CEO in 2006.

“We are honored to have such a highly regarded industry leader back on campus to deliver this year’s Distinguished Engineering Lecture,” said KU Engineering Dean Stuart Bell. “Craig Martin can offer valuable insight and a real-world perspective on what it takes to succeed in the engineering industry. We are thrilled to welcome him back to KU and proud to have him as a Jayhawk.”

Martin said he has many fond memories of campus, including several talented professors, and his time at KU remains close to his heart.

“One professor in particular, Stan Rolfe (distinguished professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering), stands out in my memory and has often crossed my mind throughout the years. I remember working very hard at my studies. The learning intensity at the School of Engineering was a challenge, but one that I came to respect. The work was hard, but I have many fun memories that have stayed with me as well,” Martin said.

Previous speakers in the series are Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally; Linda Zarda Cook, retired executive director of Natural Gas & Power for Royal Dutch Shell; and retired Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Corporation Bob Eaton.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” Martin said. “I see great value in any opportunity to engage in discourse with the incoming generations of engineers, but it’s particularly special to be able to do so at my own alma mater and the institution that shaped the foundation upon which I have built a successful, lifelong career. I find it very rewarding.”

The lecture is free, and the public is welcome to attend.

Wed, 10/26/2011


Jill Hummels

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Jill Hummels

Office of the Provost