George Little to Retire from HDR: Eric Keen Will Be Next Chairman and CEO
During an all-employee meeting today, HDR Chairman and CEO George A. Little, P.E., announced his decision to retire effective December 31, 2017. George recommended Eric L. Keen, P.E. as his replacement, and the board unanimously agreed. Keen currently serves as the firm’s president and chief operating officer.
Little has been with HDR since 1989, when he joined the firm’s Minneapolis office as a project manager. From there, he became local office manager, then operations director for the engineering company, developing its quality assurance and quality control programs. He was one of the original investors who bought the company back from foreign ownership in 1996.
Under Little’s guidance — six years as CEO and 14 years as president of the engineering company — HDR has grown revenue and profits every year. Today, HDR has revenues of $2 billion and is ranked No. 8 in the Engineering News-Record Top 500 Design Firms survey, widely considered the industry benchmark.
An electrical engineer by trade, Little has over 35 years of industry experience including extensive experience in project management and design for large power and energy projects. In 2010, he was inducted into the Engineering Hall of Fame at his alma mater, the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He serves on the boards of many industry and nonprofit organizations, is the current past chair of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and currently chairs the Design Professional Coalition, an organization of senior executives from leading design/engineering firms.
“I’ve accomplished more than I could have hoped for in my career with HDR,” Little said. “We recently refreshed our brand, transitioned to a modern enterprise business system, and our new corporate headquarters is underway. Most importantly, our financials are strong, as is our employee ownership model. This felt like the right time to transition to new leadership, and I’m confident in Eric’s ability to lead the company into its next hundred years.”
Keen joined HDR in 1993. Trained as a civil engineer, he has spent his career helping deliver some of the United States’ most notable infrastructure projects. He was instrumental in developing the firm’s transportation alternative delivery practice and was previously the director of the firm’s transportation group. In 2012, Keen started the HDR Foundation, an employee-funded and administered charitable giving organization. The foundation has given more than $1 million in grants to date.
“The fact that HDR has only had seven CEOs in its remarkable 100-year history says a lot about our firm,” said Keen. “I am humbled by this opportunity, and wish to thank George and the HDR board for their confidence. The future holds great things for our company, and I look forward to working with the best people in the industry.”
For more than a century, HDR has partnered with clients to shape communities and push the boundaries of what’s possible. Our expertise spans 10,000 employees, in more than 225 locations around the world — and counting. Our engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services bring an impressive breadth of knowledge to every project. Our optimistic approach to finding innovative solutions defined our past and drives our future.