Carlos Hernandez

Carlos Hernandez

Board Member, Pacific Gas & Electric and Steward Health Care Systems
BSCE 1976

For his trailblazing spirit in combining his love of civil engineering and law to become the go-to expert in the business and legal aspects of the engineering profession.

At the age of 8, Cuban-born Carlos Hernandez arrived in South Florida as a political exile with his parents. He easily could’ve dwelled on the deck being stacked against him, but instead embraced the move as an opportunity. He had an affinity for math and science and identified civil engineering as a career goal. At Purdue, he flourished. As a co-op student, he joined HNTB, which exposed him to airport planning and design as well as the business and legal aspects of the engineering profession. Three years after receiving his Purdue degree, he earned a law degree from the University of Miami. His education set the stage for a 40-year career that spanned engineering, procurement, manufacturing, and distribution with expertise in litigation, mergers, and acquisitions, risk management, safety and environmental matters, real estate, non-merchandise procurement, corporate security, corporate governance, and compliance.

Operating under his own personal philosophy of “work hard, treat everyone with respect, and always do the right thing — even when it is the hard thing to do,” Hernandez soared to the top.

He retired in 2020 from Fluor Corporation, one of the largest engineering and construction companies on the New York Stock Exchange, where he had worked since 2007 as corporate secretary, executive vice president, chief legal officer, and finally, chief executive officer. Before joining Fluor, he served as general counsel for ArcelorMittal Americas and general counsel and secretary of International Steel Group Inc. In addition, he was executive vice president, general counsel and secretary for Fleming Companies, Inc. and served in various legal capacities with Armco Inc.

“A Purdue engineering education gave me instant credibility as a graduate engineer,” Hernandez said. “Nobody ever doubted the quality of my education or my ability to think critically and analytically.”

He still remembers words of wisdom shared with him while he was an undergraduate.

“During my co-op experience through Purdue, my supervisor told me that technical qualifications were necessary and useful, but the ability to relate to people and develop rapport were essential in the engineering profession. This was constructive advice for all of my career.”

A current board member of Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Steward Health Care, he is past chair of the New York-based International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution.

At Purdue, he has provided significant support to the Lyles Ideas to Innovation Laboratory in Hampton Hall and to the Thomas A. Page Pavilion — a facility dedicated to student projects where they can plan, fabricate, and design various civil engineering-related projects. His family foundation has endowed a scholarship for Purdue civil engineering students. He is the 2015 recipient of CE’s highest honor, the Alumni Achievement Award, and was recognized in 2021 by the Purdue Office of Professional Practice with his induction into its Hall of Fame.

During his time as past chair of the Lyles School of Civil Engineering Advisory Council, Hernandez has shared his experiences and offered advice while visiting civil engineering classes.

He has been inducted as a Purdue Chi Epsilon Chapter Honor Member.

“Reach high. Don’t be afraid to fail. Teamwork is essential,” he tells students. “Success is never so sweet as when it comes after failure.”

Career Highlights

2020–present Board Member, Pacific Gas & Electric and Steward Health Care Systems
2019–2020 Chief Executive Officer, Fluor Corporation
2007–2019 Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Fluor Corporation
2004–2007 General Counsel and Secretary, ArcelorMittal Americas
2000–2004 Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Fleming Companies, Inc.
1984–1999 Assistant General Counsel, Corporate Counsel, and Assistant Counsel, Armco Inc.
1981–1984 Associate Counsel, Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co.
1979–1981 Attorney, Kavanaugh & Leiby


1976 BS Civil Engineering, Purdue University
1979 JD University of Miami School of Law