Give Marquette

Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Engineering Recipients

Entrepreneurial Award

Michael J. Nigro


Reston, Va.

Mike Nigro recently launched his own consulting company, M.J. Nigro Consulting LLC. His objective: help businesses build a culture that will help them meet their growth goals. What makes him think he can?

Because he has 25 years of experience managing and helping businesses do just that. In those 25 years, he built Environmental Management Inc. into a worldwide organization with more than 1,400 professionals in 48 offices and guided the resource management group of EMI’s parent company, Tetra Tech Inc., to an expansion of more than $500 million worldwide. In 2003, he joined Project Performance Corp. and tripled the company’s revenue to more than $65 million. In 2008, he sold PPC to AEA Technology Inc., a London-based climate change and energy efficiency management consulting company, and was appointed chief operating officer of its international operation and an executive board member. He held both positions until December 2010.

“When I started out in 1983, I had no dream of becoming a CEO and running an international company,” Mike says. “I just worked hard and cared about those around me. I will apply the same principles to the next phase of my life.”

Mike cites his parents and Marquette as his inspirations. “My father — Dr. Nicholas Nigro, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering — taught me the importance of never quitting,” he says. “My mother taught me the joy of life. Marquette taught me about overcoming challenges. I left with the confidence that there was nothing I could not accomplish.”

Fun facts about Mike:
Hometown: Milwaukee
Favorite book: When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss
Someone alive or dead he’d like to have dinner with: Al McGuire
The Marquette faculty member who had an impact on Mike: Dr. Al Zanoni
Favorite Marquette memory: From 1969–77, when his father was a professor at Marquette.  “I was able to go to every weekday Marquette basketball game at the Milwaukee Arena. There was nothing like it in the world,” even though he had to sit in the “faculty” section. He and his father would start out with a bowl of Real Chili, then walk to the Arena. They even did this when it was subzero out. Mike remembers: “The buzz outside was amazing, and as you got closer to the Arena, it only became more deafening. Once inside, you could hardly breathe because of the excitement. Then you would hear the announcement of the players and, finally, Al McGuire. To be there with 10,976 screaming fans was unlike anything one could imagine. Win or lose, my father and I would take that long walk back to the car.” It is today that he understands why those memories will last a lifetime. They were his three favorite things, Marquette, Al McGuire and his Dad, “all mixed in with a bowl of Real Chili”!
In grade school, Mike wanted to be a basketball star.
Most influential people in his life: His parents