Press Release

GRAEF CEO Kissinger is STEM Forward Engineer of the Year

Executive to be honored for excellence in his field

By - Jan 14th, 2019 10:06 am
John Kissinger. Photo courtesy of GRAEF.

John Kissinger. Photo courtesy of GRAEF.

MILWAUKEE (Jan. 14, 2019)John Kissinger, president and chief executive officer of GRAEF, has been named the STEM Forward 2018 Engineer of the Year.

The prestigious award has been bestowed annually since 1953 to a remarkable leader in the Milwaukee 7 community who has made an extraordinary contribution to the engineering profession.

STEM Forward is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and metropolitan Milwaukee’s leading Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and outreach provider. STEM Forward’s programs, events and activities inspire local youth to pursue STEM careers and provide a pipeline of talent to businesses in southeastern Wisconsin.

Kissinger leads GRAEF, a Milwaukee-based national engineering, planning and design firm.

Rich Merkel, executive director of STEM Forward, said, “John has uniquely demonstrated tremendous excellence as both a practicing engineer and business executive – we’re very excited to be honoring him as the Engineer of the Year.”

A practicing engineer since graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1979, Kissinger has served as a project manager, executive and active community leader in greater Milwaukee for more than three decades.

Kissinger’s award-winning portfolio of work has included dozens of large signature projects recognized throughout the Midwest, including the Milwaukee Art Museum Calatrava addition and Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, the Lambeau Field renovation in Green Bay, the McCormick Place West addition in Chicago and many more.

Named a principal at GRAEF in 2002 and CEO in 2011, Kissinger has overseen dramatic growth at the firm to nine offices and more than 250 employees. The company recently announced it will move its national headquarters to new office space in The Shops of Grand Avenue in downtown Milwaukee.

Kissinger follows in an impressive line of GRAEF executives who have received the Engineer of the Year Award, including Luther Graef, Leonard Anhalt, David Kluge, Richard Bub and John Goetter.

Kissinger will receive the Engineer of the Year Award at the 66th annual Engineers Week Banquet, to be held Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee. The event will begin with a reception at 5:15 p.m.

Others to be honored at the banquet will include: Kyle Bareither of O’Brien & Gene as the 2018 Young Engineer of the Year; and American Transmission Company, which will receive the Spirit of STEM Award.


GRAEF is an employee-owned, full-service engineering, planning and design firm with proven expertise in planning; landscape and industrial architecture; operations consulting; and structural, civil, transportation, MEP, and environmental engineering. GRAEF serves public and private clients from its offices in Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Madison, Wisconsin; Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Orlando, and now Miami, Florida. For more than 50 years, GRAEF has demonstrated its commitment to continuously adapting to meet the changing needs of the industry and its clients. For more information, visit


Recent Press Releases by GRAEF


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GRAEF CEO Kissinger wins Bravo! Entrepreneur Award

Awards for business leadership will be given at BizExpo on May 30

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Project created a new 21st century downtown

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