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Buro Happold elevates noted airport sector expert, Patti Harburg-Petrich, to lead U.S. aviation practice

Buro Happold elevates noted airport sector expert, Patti Harburg-Petrich, to lead U.S. aviation practice

October 11, 2022, the global leader in planning and implementation of aviation and airport projects, Buro Happold, has announced its U.S. practice team leader for the sector, Patti Harburg-Petrich. The closely watched move reflects Buro Happold’s deep portfolio of award-winning works in these markets and formalizes the firm’s multidisciplinary offer, integrating essential engineering and strategic consulting capabilities in a single, widely recognized firm.

Buro Happold announced the selection of Patti Harburg-Petrich, SE, LEED AP BD+C, as the new U.S. aviation lead for the firm on the heels of her July elevation to president of a major engineering society in Southern California. In her new national leadership role with Buro Happold, Harburg-Petrich furthers the firm’s expertise as a worldwide authority in airport design and aviation planning and engineering at every scale. Author of a new white paper on sustainable aviation concepts and airport buildings, Harburg-Petrich also leads the firm’s noted pursuit of innovative building projects that embody environmental and social governance (ESG) values. This year, she was also elected as president of The Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC), the oldest structural engineering association in the world.

Known for her focus on high-value solutions that optimally support client and collaborative partners at the vanguard of these markets, Harburg-Petrich has supported the firm’s continued growth in aviation even through recent disruptive changes in air travel. Operating in 30-plus locations worldwide with over 2,200 professionals, global consultancy Buro Happold carries a reputation for innovative, value-focused solutions among aviation leaders and for some of the world’s top airports. Notable works among more than 100 aviation projects completed include The Jewel at Changi Airport in Singapore, the new Midfield Satellite Concourse South at LAX in Los Angeles currently in design, and 25 years of work with Heathrow Airport including terminals T3 and T4.

“Our focus is always to address the complex challenges in any aviation expansion or new building while also recognizing opportunities for greater sustainability and more positive engagement of air passengers from the moment they arrive,” says Harburg-Petrich, a LEED-accredited professional and certified disaster service worker for California’s statewide safety assessment program who has also served on the executive board of the ACE mentor program. “This helps operators prime revenues as it also makes airports more desirable destinations for not just travellers but also every worker and visitor.”

In her new post, Harburg-Petrich stands as one of the most visible women engineers in this challenging sector worldwide. She joins the global team led by Karl Lyndon, the firm’s Global Aviation Sector Leader, as she heads the U.S. region’s deeply experienced team including such noted colleagues as Varughese Cherian, a principal and highly visible sector specialist with Buro Happold. In addition, Harburg-Petrich’s project work and related research has also broadened Buro Happold’s innovations in such specialties as offsite construction, sustainable aviation approaches, and the critical focus on airport structural and seismic safety.

“Patti Harburg-Petrich’s experience, passion and visibility in the aviation sector are matched by her exceptional dedication to design excellence and sustainability, helping keep people connected in their business and personal lives,” says David Herd, chair of the U.S. Board for Buro Happold. “Patti is leading the sector by showing clients and colleagues how to design airports to minimize carbon, what sustainable fuel options are gaining interest, and in general how tomorrow’s airports are doing more while touching the earth ever more lightly through the increased use of modular construction techniques.”

Herd highlights Harburg-Petrich’s elevation to president of the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California, a professional society with over 1,000 members known globally for advancing authoritative practices and members leading in the practice of structural and earthquake engineering.

Harburg-Petrich’s aviation and sustainability expertise will also be visible in a forthcoming white paper to publish in the fall of 2022. The new research lays out a case for improved architectural, material and engineering solutions to promote both efficiency and resiliency in airport design. These ideas, along with her focus on seismic challenges and structural integrity, contribute to making air travel safer, more resilient and even more enticing and future-proof.

In addition to her work in the aviation sector, Harburg-Petrich has experience leading teams in varied commercial, healthcare, education, and sports projects. Known for community-centric work, adaptive reuse and seismic retrofit successes, she is frequently called on for sustainability-focused aviation and transportation projects.