OBITUARY: Ralph Peterson

Former long-time CH2M Hill CEO Ralph R. Peterson passed away Sept. 1 at his home in Denver, after a long battle with cancer.  Peterson joined CH2M HILL in 1965 as its 148th employee. From 1991 through 2008 he served as the firm’s CEO.

“It is with great sadness, that I share the news that our dear friend Ralph Peterson has passed away,” said CH2M HILL president and CEO Lee McIntire. “He was a great man and an industry icon. His passion, dedication and leadership built CH2M HILL into the place that I am so proud of today. I will miss his passion and desire to help others succeed. Our thoughts are with his wife Betty, their family and many friends around the world.”

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Widely viewed as a sustainable development thought leader in the engineering and construction industry, Peterson led the employee-owned CH2M HILL for 18 years, growing it to a $6 billion global engineering, construction and program management enterprise.

In 1991, when the board of directors appointed Peterson as president and CEO, the company had 5,300 employees. At that time, CH2M HILL was a consulting engineering firm primarily experienced in water and environmental projects, with most of its work focused on U.S. federal, state and local government clients.

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Throughout his impressive career, Peterson was honored with numerous industry and professional awards for his commitment to the profession and community service. His accolades include the Colorado Governor’s Award for Outstanding International Trade Development, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Award, Colorado Business Hall of Fame, Oregon State University Academy of Distinguished Engineers and Engineering Hall of Fame, American Society of Civil Engineers President’s Medal, National Academy of Construction inductee and Keystone Center Leadership in Industry Award. In October Peterson was to receive the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) 2009 Distinguished Award of Merit.

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