Two CEE Alumni Win Engineer of the Year Awards

Anita Atkinson, CE 00, and John Pierson, MS EnvE 93, were among the seven impressive engineers selected to receive the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers’ annual Engineer of the Year Awards.

The awards, which recognize engineers in various industries and stages in their careers, honor licensed engineers for their contributions to the profession, the public welfare and humankind.

More than half of the statewide honors were awarded to alumni and faculty of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. Atkinson and Pierson were recognized alongside Associate School Chair Susan Burns, CE 90, MS CE 96, MS EnvE 96, PhD CE 97, who received the Engineer of the Year in Education award, and G. Wayne Clough, CE 64, MS CE 65, president emeritus of Georgia Tech and a part-time lecturer in the School.


Anita Atkinson, CE 00

Anita Atkinson – Engineer of the Year in Private Practice

Anita Atkinson, vice president of engineering and surveying at Patterson & Dewar Engineers Inc., was named the 2020 Engineer of the Year in Private Practice.

A 2000 civil engineering graduate, Atkinson, has worked for the last 20 years designing, managing and leading engineering work in the area of electric utilities infrastructure.

She’s a licensed engineer in seven states, and has actively given back to the engineering profession. She’s served in leadership roles with the American Society of Civil Engineers including hospitality chair, internal director and, most recently, treasurer. She has also served the Georgia Engineering Foundation as treasurer and now president-elect.

“Anita has been with Patterson & Dewar Engineers, Inc., for over 11 years. During that time, she has developed into an exceptional engineer, communicator, project and program manager as her responsibilities within the company have continuously grown,” said Michael J. Kline, the president and CEO of the company.


John A. Pierson, MS EnvE 93

John A. Pierson – Engineer of the Year in Industry

John A. Pierson, principal research engineer at Georgia Tech Research Institute, is the 2020 Engineer of the Year in Industry.  

Pierson earned his master’s degree in environmental engineering at Georgia Tech in 1993 and went on to work at GTRI with a focus on food safety and quality.

He is an environmental engineer focused on industrial treatment processes, remediation, restoration and stormwater. His engineering accomplishments include advancing the processes of industrial wastewater treatment related to food production plants, particularly in the poultry industry.

“John’s research and the practical knowledge he has shared over the years has contributed largely to the poultry and egg industry’s success as it relates to operating in a manner that prioritizes protection of the environment, industry workers and the public in general,” said Paul J. Bredwell III, executive vice president of regulatory programs for the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.