Joseph J. Jacobs

Joseph J. Jacobs was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1915. He received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, in 1937. His master’s (’39) and doctorate (’42) degrees in Chemical Engineering also were earned at Polytechnic University.

In 1947, he founded Jacobs Engineering and began operating as both an engineering consultant and a manufacturers’ representative for process equipment. During the ensuing 50-plus years, he led Jacobs Engineering to the top echelons of the engineering world. His company has been listed in Fortune’s Top 500 Companies, is ranked third largest design-build firm by ENR, and is also ranked as one of the top Most Admired Companies by Fortune. He was Chairman and CEO of Jacobs until 1992, and today serves as Chairman of the Board.

Dr. Jacobs first design-construct project was awarded in 1960. In 1963, this client received the prestigious Kirkpatrick Merit Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for a project that involved Jacobs’ help in the development of a potassium nitrate process technology.

During the 1970s, important milestones for Dr. Jacobs and his ever-growing firm were the acquisition of the PACE Companies, establishing a presence on the U.S. Gulf Coast, and opening an office in Dublin, Ireland. In 1971, Jacobs Engineering was listed as a publicly traded company.

The 1990s saw another era of unprecedented growth for Jacobs Engineering. In 1991, the firm passed $1 billion in annual revenue. Offices were established in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. In 1996, the company was listed in Fortune’s top 1000 companies, as well as being listed by ENR as the largest construction design-build firm in the world. Numerous safety awards were received from The Business Roundtable and clients.

Today, Jacobs Engineering is a Fortune 500 company, with over 30,000 employees and operations on six continents. With revenues in excess of $4 billion it annually ranks at the top of several ENR categories. Its employees occupy leadership roles in many industry forums, including the Construction Industry Institute.

Throughout this period of growth, the bedrock of Dr. Jacobs’ ethical beliefs and entrepreneurial spirit has provided an inspiration to the employees of Jacobs Engineering. Dr. Jacobs has given generously to colleges, hospitals, and to his alma mater. He is a recipient of the World Citizen Award (1996) from the United Nations. In 1983, he was awarded the Hoover Medal from President Reagan for contributions to society by an engineer. It is with great pride and sincere appreciation that CII selects Dr. Joseph J. Jacobs to receive its highest honor, the Carroll H. Dunn Award of Excellence.