GBA Board Member Spotlight ~ Arthur G. “Art” Hoffmann, P.E., D.G.E. ~ Gannett Fleming

 GBA Board Member Spotlight ~ Arthur G. “Art” Hoffmann, P.E., D.G.E. ~ Gannett Fleming

My roots are international with a Swiss Dad and a  German Mom. They came to the U.S. after World War II to make a new life and found each other in the land of opportunity. Our extended family was eleven with 5 from Europe and 6 born in the U.S. As a mixed heritage family, we did not have rich traditions from Europe or the U.S. but developed our own over time.

I did not see much of the U.S. while growing up in Pittsburgh, but we regularly took special trips to Europe to visit my relatives. These trips were an opportunity to experience different languages, cultures, traditions, landscapes and senses of humor. Every trip was an adventure full of new amazing things to see and people to meet. These adventures were the start of my life passion to regularly experience new places and meet new people. I carry this passion with me today; now more than ever.


I followed my father’s footsteps and began studying electrical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Lissajous figures were not exciting to me and frankly, made no sense. My father’s warnings about becoming a “ditch digger” echoed in my head and I changed course to civil engineering like my roommate. It was through civil engineering that I found my true calling as a geotechnical engineer.

I found the hidden underground world of geotechnical engineering to present new and exciting design challenges, even on the “simplest” of projects. Additionally, each project included new owners, different teams of consultants and contractors and a variety of approaches to solving problems. This fueled my passion for new experiences and new people on every project.

When I arrived at Gannett Fleming 33 years ago, I was still a relatively new engineer. In a short time, I was given an opportunity to experience a wide variety of multi-discipline design projects, each with its own unique challenges and located all over the country. It was rewarding to meet, work with, and build relationships with so many people in so many places.

Additionally, Gannett Fleming has given me the opportunity to volunteer my time with ASCE, the
Geo-Institute, and GBA. Each of these have given me the opportunity to meet new people and expand my network of geoprofessionals across North America while helping to elevate my profession.

In my early years with Gannett Fleming I advanced from a staff engineer, to project manager and quickly became an office manager. Then, someone decided I should be the new Corporate Quality Officer, so I learned what ISO 9001 was and helped the firm become certified. Internal auditing required I visit all of Gannett’s offices (over 60 locations) across the country. Traveling and experiencing America was great but meeting almost everyone in the firm was by far the best part of that job. New people in new places talking about new projects was wonderfully rewarding.

As Gannett Fleming’s footprint expanded, I had the opportunity to visit our offices in Doha, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE. Again, my role was fueling my passion by allowing me to explore new parts of the world and meet new people from diverse cultures.

I am currently Gannett Fleming’s Chief Administrative Officer and I am responsible for Human Resources, Legal Services, IT Services and Safety. As a geotechnical engineer, I virtually knew nothing about each of these areas but I learn every day from the experts with whom I’m privileged to work and each day is a new and exciting experience.

 I could not have predicted my career path when I changed courses from electrical engineering to geotechnical engineering. I never imagined that I’d have the chance to do the things I’ve done, develop relationships with all the people I’ve met, and regularly been amazed by our vast world. I’m so lucky that I have been accompanied on this journey with my wonderful wife of 35  years, Lisa, and my amazing, accomplished daughters Amy and Holly. And now I am a  Grandpa!

They say change begins at the edge of your comfort zone. I’ve never regretted pushing that boundary as it has provided a career of growth and fulfillment. I’d love to hear your stories of pushing past the edges of your comfort zones and the excellent adventures that you’ve had.