"Working in 30 Countries Over 40 Years: Opportunities for Engineers Have No Bounds," by Joe Adams


Location: 126 DeBartolo Hall Map

Panama Canal Atlantic Locks

Panama Canal Lock Chamber


The demand for Engineering talent has never been higher and will continue to expand for years to come.  Every segment of the engineering space is evolving with changes in technology, materials of construction, advanced construction equipment, artificial intelligence, and global partnerships.

The types of employment for engineers are also limitless.  They range from sole practitioners, to small businesses, regional practices, national companies and global conglomerates.  Many engineers work in several types of businesses as their career develops.  They may start with a small local company and move to progressively larger companies as their career develops.  Alternatively, they may begin their career with a global company and transition to smaller companies to reduce the amount of travel or be able to focus on a smaller market.

This presentation will detail a career that spans more than 30 countries over 40 years.  The types of projects include water and wastewater, hydropower, oil and gas, mining, environmental cleanup, and structures. The goal is to show that the opportunities for engineers are only limited by your imagination. 

The presentation will also discuss Engineers Without Borders whose goal is to “Build a better world through engineering projects that empower communities to meet their basic human needs and equip leaders to solve the world’s most pressing challenges”


Joe Adams is recently retired as President of Energy and Industry for MWH (now a part of Stantec) in Broomfield, Colorado.  In his role, he oversaw global strategy, as well as the day-to-day operations for services to the energy, mining, oil & gas, environmental and manufacturing sectors. He was a member of the MWH Global Board of Directors.  He has worked in more than 30 countries in his 40 year career.  His last major assignment was Chairman of the MWH lead design consortium for the recently completed $5 Billion expansion of the Third Set of Locks at the Panama Canal.

At MWH, he was the founding member of the Colorado Women’s Foundation STEM education program designed to help bring more women into STEM professions.  He was a member of The Water Design/Build Council, The Beavers (largest organization of companies designing and building dams), Advisory Board for the University of Colorado School of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, trustee of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and advisor to the Board of Directors of Bridges to Prosperity.

He is Past President of Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB) and recently completed trips to Guatemala and Nicaragua where 200 projects are underway to bring clean water and sanitation to communities in need. He is a trustee of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).  He and his wife, Pat Habel, have created an endowment at CU for a Professor of Safety in Engineering and Construction, an endowment at WPI to provide opportunities for students to study abroad.

Joe has a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Cornell University and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University.  He has atwo daughters, a son, and 8 grandchildren in Colorado. 

Seminar sponsored by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences

Edison Lecture Flyer

Originally published at energy.nd.edu.