John Hernan, a construction advertising sales executive whose West Coast-based career at Engineering News-Record and its parent firm McGraw-Hill Corp. spanned more than 44 years, died Dec. 19 in California of melanoma-induced cancer. He was 85.

Hernan began his ENR career in 1960 and soon became one of its most prolific and successful ad sales executives. "He was an extraordinary professional," says Howard Mager, a retired McGraw-Hill senior vice president and ENR publisher. Hernan retired in 2004.

John Bodrozic, president of Meridian Systems, a Folsom, Calif.-based project management software firm, recalls Hernan's guidance when the firm started operation in the mid 1990s. Bodrozic, a mechanical engineer and former construction project manager who founded the firm, recalls how Hernan "taught me many of the ropes in understanding marketing and advertising."


The Meridian executive says Hernan's efforts played a role in the firm's success. "John Hernan was there every step of the way through the journey with Meridian," Bodrozic says.

At Hernan's retirement tribute in 2004, current McGraw Hill Construction group publisher Jay McGraw noted that he had been "one of the most dedicated, and knowledgeable members of our advertising sales team."

Another long-time Hernan customer, John Geffel, general manager of Sage Software, an Irvine, Calif., construction software firm that purchased Timberline software in 2004, said the ENR sales manager was "always the consummate sales professional, a man true to his word and a man whose words were always true."

Before joining ENR, Hernan was an ad sales manager for the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. He earned a business degree from Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., after Army service in World War II.

Hernan and his wife Ollie had three children and lived in Belvedere, a San Francisco suburb. He remained an avid skiier throughout his life, with a trip planned for next month, according to his widow.

There will be a memorial service for Hernan in January, with details still unclear. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Society of St. Vincent DePaul, a charitable organization in San Rafael, Calif.