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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Engineering Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award


Parker, Colo.

“Being an engineer is a wonderful and rewarding career,” says Tom. “It’s the thrill of solving a unique problem. But the reward is leaving a solution that has somehow improved the quality of life — whether it’s cleaner water, safer communities, improved mobility or reaching for the stars.”

Throughout his 36-year career, Tom has experienced the thrill and reward of these and many other endeavors. At CH2M HILL, where he is managing director for Canada, he has served as Water Business Group president and group chief executive of CH2M HILL International and on the firm's board of directors. Earlier, he worked his way up as project manager, engineer, and construction manager for water, wastewater and public works projects locally and around the world. Tom is also a member of numerous engineering organizations, including the National Society of Professional Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, Water Environment Federation and International Desalination Association.   

An impassioned voice for corporate social responsibility and business ethics, Tom shared his wisdom and experience with Marquette students last April at his presentation, “The Ever-increasing Role (and Responsibility) of the Engineer to Solve the World's Most Challenging Issues." 

“Marquette built the foundation from which everything else followed,” he says. “I got a great engineering education, but, most important, Marquette taught me much more: service, loyalty and hard work. It is an indelible experience and one I wish for all current and future students.”      

Get to Know: Thomas G. Searle

Hometown:  Born in Belize, Central America (Formerly British Honduras)

Favorite book:  Post American World by Fareed Zakaria

Someone past or present he’d like to have dinner with: Nelson Mandela

Favorite Marquette memory:  The first time he saw snow in 1973 and walking home from the old Engineering building. 

In grade school Tom wanted to be a guitar player or a pilot.