Rik Vandenberghe

Brussels-based construction giant  BESIX Group has tapped the CEO of a major  Belgian bank to replace its own chief executive, a 42-year firm veteran who has run it since 2005. Besix said on Jan. 12 that Rik Vandenberghe, now CEO of ING Belgium, will join in March, succeeding Johan Beerlandt, who becomes chairman. The firm ranks at No. 116 on ENR’s most recent Top Global Contractors list, reporting $2.4 billion in 2015 revenue, about $1.57 billion outside Belgium, with two-thirds of that in the Middle East.

At ING, Vandenberg advised BESIX executives in a 2008 management buyout and later arranged project finance, BESIX said.

Beerlandt told an online Belgian publication that Vandenberghe will lead the firm’s market diversification, pointing to French contractor Bouygues as a role model. Beerlandt said BESIX ended 2016 ”with a record result and a promising backlog,” adding that he wants the firm ”to retain its Belgian roots and identity.” After nearly 20 years at ING and four as CEO, Vandenberghe said he had not intended to leave the financial sector.


Professional services firm WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has hired two senior vice presidents to lead U.S. practices. Christopher Peters, based in Orange, Calif., will run its western transportation and infrastructure business. He was a western U.S. operations officer at HNTB. Tina Millan now is Miami-based director of the U.S. aviation practice. She was aviation vice president at consultant Turner & Townsend. WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff also named three new UK-based directors as it expands the unit’s global maritime business. All are former managers at Dutch consultant Royal HaskoningDHV. Simon Harries will lead the expanded business; Roy Van Eijsden and Andy Penfold will manage analysis of project economic risks and market trends.

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff also said on Jan. 12 that it will corporately “rebrand” as WSP in May. The 36,700-person firm said the change “will cover more than 85 small, mid-sized and large companies that have come together.” WSP made the transformational acquisition of U.S. transportation engineer-builder Parsons Brinckerhoff in 2014 for $1.4 billion. Gregory Kelly, president and CEO of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s U.S.-Latin America region, said the  change “is the next step in the unification of the company.”


Thomas Haag has joined Chicago-based contractor The Walsh Group as vice president and national aviation director. Previously, he was a global aviation vice president at Parsons Corp.The company says he has involved in airport infrastructure programs that include the $11-billion effort in Abu Dhabi Airports Capital Development Program, Mexocp City's new $14-billion international airport Program and the $15-billion Hamad International Airport program in Doha, Qatar. Walsh ranks at No. 11 on ENR’s current list of the Top 400 Contractors.

Laurie Parsons has joined engineering firm OBG (formerly O’Brien & Gere) as senior vice president following the firm’s Jan. 9 purchase of Natural Resource Technology (NRT), a Milwaukee  environmental consulting firm, of which she was president. OBG says the acquisition is its third over the past two years. The firm ranks at No. 123 on ENR's Toop 500 Design Firms list. NRT specializes in sediment and manufactured gas plant waste remediation, coal combustion residuals management and ecotoxicology, says OBG.

Parsons, Pasadena, Calif., has hired Alan Thomas as senior vice president and eastern regional manager, of its industrial division, based in an undisclosed location near Philadelphia.  He had been vice president of global business development at Jacobs Engineering Group.

Robert D. “Bobby" Braun has begun in a new role as dean of the University of Colorado, Boulder  College of Engineering and Applied Science. Founded in 1893, it is the second largest of seven schools at the university. Braun, who joined the engineering faculty last October, succeeds Robert Davis, dean since 2002, who will return to the faculty.

Braun is formerly professor of space technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and founder of its space technology and research center. He also is a former NASA research manager and chief technologist. Braun told local media that he wants to expand partnerships with other Colorado higher education providers, including community colleges, and boost numbers of international students and those studying abroad. Said one report, he aims "to push back against the caricature of engineers as one-dimensional, data-driven drones with pocket-protectors" with expanded study in business, entrepreneurship, humanities and communications.

Gannett Fleming Inc. has elevated President and Chief Operating Officer Robert M. Scaer to chairman and CEO. He joined the firm in 1982. Succeeding him is Paul D. Nowicki, the engineer's former southeast region director. Paul Young has joined the firm as vice president and director of power services, following its purchase of LDP Group Inc., a Chicago electrical engineering design specialist of which he was president. The acquisition boosts the parent firm's expertise in design of substations and transmission lines, transit and rail power systems, instrumentation and renewable energy, it says. Gannett Fleming and LDP collaborated on a 230-kV substation project in New Jersey in early 2016 and then formed a joint venture.

Bridge design specialist Modjeski and Masters has elevated Michael F. Britt to president from senior vice president. In the role, he succeeds Barney Martin, who remains CEO.

Utah Valley University, Orem, has appointed Saeed Moaveni as dean of the College of Technology and Computing, effective May 1. He is a mechanical engineering professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and former chairman of its mechanical and civil engineering department. He also served as engineering school dean at Norwich University, Utah Valley has academic degree programs in engineering and construction technology and offers an MS in cybersecurity.