In addition to the professional societies previously mentioned, Bud also has been involved in the community and lent his expertise to numerous boards and organizations. He is a former National President of the Society of American Military Engineers and a founding member of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Civil Engineering Research Foundation (now known as the Industry Leaders Council). The purpose of the Foundation was to advance project performance and industry productivity through technology and innovation.
As a founding member and board member of Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA), Bud leverages his expertise and resources to help the organization grow and establish a platform for advancing engineering education and performance. EWB-USA is one of the world’s fastest-growing professional service associations with more than 13,000 members working on 135 projects in more than 30 countries. At CH2M HILL, Bud played a key role in bringing together employees who support EWB-USA and in 2006 helped establish a grant program through the CH2M HILL Foundation for employees involved with the organization.
Since 2005, Bud has served on the Engineers Week Advisory Council, and he co-chairs the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education Coalition (STEM-EC) in Denver. Created in June 2006 by the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, CH2M HILL, Lockheed Martin and Avaya, STEM-EC’s mission is to increase the number of students with the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills needed to meet Colorado science and technology employers’ needs. He has helped the group gain the attention of Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and other politicians, and further STEM education across the state.
Military Career of Bud Ahearn
Following college, Bud embarked on a distinguished 34-year military career where he was responsible for shaping financial strategy, developing budgets, and executing infrastructure programs totaling in excess of $7 billion annually. During his career, which spanned the beginning of America’s space program to Operation Desert Storm, General Ahearn pioneered breakthrough project performance with his Army, Navy, and NASA engineer-partners by innovatively applying the technology of materials, information systems, program management, construction equipment, and engineering systems.
Early in his military career, Bud served as a project manager in the Air Force and helped to accelerate construction of Atlas, Titan, and Minuteman ICBM complexes to close the missile gap with the Soviet Union.
As a leader in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) environmental protection program, Bud is credited with taking the challenge of the Chief-of-Staff and creating programs to clean up past contaminated sites, assure present environmental compliance, and prevent future mistakes. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the completion of Operation Desert Storm, he concentrated his attention on the need for the Civil Engineering right-size force, initiating a top-to-bottom reorganization, streamlining the Pentagon and major command staffs, and concentrating its force in field operating units.
During the Vietnam War, Bud served as Commander of the 554th Red Horse Combat Engineering Squadron in South Vietnam where his unit provided infrastructure and facility support for air and space combat operations in Vietnam, as well as support for U.S. facilities in Thailand and Korea. Stationed at Craig Air Force Base in Alabama and Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, he was responsible for improving the operations of 14 Air Force bases by employing new energy management, systems engineering, and business leadership development.
In 1976, Bud was assigned to the Pentagon to head a management consulting team that reported directly to the Air Force Chief-of-Staff. In this position, he was tasked with creating an infrastructure assessment and financial management plan for Air Force-wide implementation.
In 1979, the Air Force sent Bud to the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University. Upon returning to the Pentagon, he advanced his air base operations initiative by conducting research and found that there is a direct correlation with the military effectiveness and efficiency of the U.S. aerospace force and the quality of their bases’ built and natural environment. While stationed in Europe, he was asked to cure the command’s visual appearance program without sacrificing military readiness and security. Bud’s solution involved obtaining NATO funds and teaching other host nations the value of quality bases and how to secure funding in the complex system. By allocating funds to projects already planned, designed, and ready for execution, the command’s on-time completion rate soared. Under his leadership, 10,000 homes were privately financed and built in Europe during the 1980s. He was responsible for operations of air bases throughout NATO, including developing policies and programs for managing resources. He also served as program manager of a $400-million program to plan, budget, design, and construct Air Force bases in Oman and Egypt.
When the Marine barracks in Beirut were bombed in 1983, Bud was charged with recovering the remains of 240 Marines, positively identifying them, and then preparing them for presentation to their nation and families at Dover AFB, Delaware. He completed this complex job, which included careful building demolition; recovery; airlift; positive medical identification; and presentation with professionalism, honor, and dignity. His actions became the hallmark for the Defense Department’s handling of mass casualty cases and established the process for similar circumstances during Desert Shield/Storm.
Returning to the Pentagon as the Senior Civil Engineer for the U.S. Air Force, Bud’s responsibilities included civil engineering war fighting readiness; base development and operations; environmental stewardship; troop housing; military family housing; firefighting; explosive ordnance disposal; chemical, biological, and nuclear disaster response; and air base operations. In this role, he directly supervised a professional staff of 159; he oversaw the performance of 100,000 military, civilian, and contractor personnel and the execution of programs totaling more than $6.9 billion annually. More than 4,000 of the capital projects he supervised were valued at $10 billion.
During his tenure as the Director of Engineering Services and as the Air Force Civil Engineer, Bud promoted civil engineering research, within the Air Force and Department of Defense, as well as in the private sector through the newly established Civil Engineering Research Foundation of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He has been a strong advocate for removing barriers to introducing and accepting new and more efficient technology throughout the construction industry. Additionally, he presided over an environmental awareness and responsiveness transformation throughout the Air Force by creating a program to explain legal requirements; operational benefits; basic technology; and the role that civil engineers would play in making the Air Force the lead DoD agency in environmental remediation, compliance, and pollution prevention.
Professional Honors and Awards
ASCE John I. Parcel-Leif J. Sverdrup Civil Engineering Management Award
ASCE Distinguished Member
SAME Golden Eagle Award
Honorary member, American Institute of Architects
University of Notre Dame College of Engineering Honor Award for professional achievement
ASCE President’s Award for Distinguished Service to Country and the Civil Engineering Profession
SAME Newman Medal for outstanding military engineering achievements in Europe from the United State and its allies
Publications and Lectures
Bud has frequently contributed articles published in engineering journals of SAME and ASCE. Most recently, he joined a group of distinguished government, academic, and private sector leaders in contributing articles published in the first edition of the Journal of Values-Based Leadership, Winter/Spring 2008, Valparaiso University.
Bud is a frequent lecturer for Dean’s Lecture programs at engineering universities, at leadership programs of engineering professional societies including keynotes for Tau Beta Pi national meeting, and for government agencies and cities around the United States.
Professional Engineer: Massachusetts #19876MA