Fred M. Fehsenfeld

For his outstanding entrepreneurial engineering contributions and successful leadership in a large and diverse enterprise, the Schools of Engineering are proud to present, for the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award, Fred M. Fehsenfeld

Chairman of the Executive Committee
The Heritage Group
BSME '48

Fehsenfeld bust

Mr. Fehsenfeld began his career as a process engineer with a Rock Island Refining Corp. where he was responsible for construction a catalytic cracker, commonly used in oil refining. In the late '50s he founded Asphalt Materials, Inc., and asphalt processing firm. Since then he has founded a string of other enterprises related to petroleum refining, asphalt processing, construction, aggregate production, and waste management. Today Mr. Fehsenfeld is chief executive officer of 26 diverse companies collectively known as The Heritage Group. Mr. Fehsenfeld also has served on national, state, and local task forces dealing with issues such as hazardous waste management and resource recovery. He was named a Sagamore of the Wabash for his contributions to the Indiana Solid Waste Study Commission in the early '80s.


  • "I've always felt that engineering offers a basic education that really teaches you how to organize your thoughts and problems in a way that permits you to begin solving them," says Mr. Fehsenfeld.


  • "The real challenge in problem-solving and decision-making is accumulating the pertinent information and eliminating the extraneous details. I think a general engineering education prepares a person well for this challenge."

Young Fehsenfeld bust

His advice for the engineer-to-be:

"I've spent a good part of my life with my nose stuck in technical manuals catching up on new information, brushing up on technical details. I think if you really want to get ahead you must dedicate yourself to improving your knowledge."