James L. Lammie

For his significant contributions in the military and in a large engineering and construction firm, the Purdue University Schools of Engineering are proud to present the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award to James L. Lammie.

President and Chief Executive Officer
Parsons Brinckerhoff, Incorporated
MSCE '57


From his Purdue years to present

After graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1953 with a bachelor's degree in engineering, Mr. Lammie began a 21-year career in the U.S. Army. Among numerous posts, he was commander of the 14th Engineering Battalion in Vietnam, associate professor and director of Management Programs at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and district engineer in charge of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' San Francisco office. He retired from the army as a colonel in 1974 and joined Parsons Brinckerhoff, Quade, and Douglas, Incorporated, an engineering, planning, architectural, and construction management firm. In 1982 he became president and chief operating officer of the firm, and since March of 1990 has been president and chief executive officer of its parent company, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Incorporated, with overall responsibility for PBI's world-wide activities. These include a $4.4 billion toll road across Boston Harbor and the $8 billion Taipei transit system, as well as transit systems in Hong Kong and Singapore, among many other projects.

  • "I can remember a course I took at Purdue--Surface Materials of North America," says Mr. Lammie. "That was a difficult course but many things I learned in it have been very helpful to me."

  • "I also remember a series of Purdue courses that really taught me some fundamentals of this profession. You do learn many things through experience, but I still find myself referring back to my Purdue courses."

  • "There seemed to be an emphasis on expressing ourselves, on communication--that is very important and perhaps overlooked at many colleges today. You really need to know how to communicate what you are doing--especially if you get involved in project management."

His advice to the engineering freshman:

"I would encourage a broader background--focus on your major but also try to get a little bit of everything. After all, you really don't know what you're interested in yet."