Celestino R. C. Pennoni – A Biography
1. Celestino R. C. Pennoni – a biography
Chuck Pennoni is the chairman and CEO of Pennoni Associates Inc., one of the largest consulting engineering firms in the United States with over 1,000 employees in 30 offices across the country. He is also a Past President of both the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). In 2012, he was inducted into both the NSPE College of Fellows and ACEC’s Engineering Hall of Fame. In addition, he has been awarded honorary degrees from Drexel University, Lincoln University, Widener University, The Catholic University of America, Temple University, and Lehigh University.
Chuck Pennoni was born in Philadelphia in 1943 to an Italian immigrant father and an American mother. He graduated first in his class from Archbishop Ryan High School in 1961 and then attended Drexel Institute of Technology (now Drexel University), where he graduated cum laude with a BSCE degree in 1965. After serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, he returned to Drexel to earn his MSCE degree in 1967 and his PhD in 1970, both in environmental engineering. He then joined the faculty of Temple University, where he served as both a professor and the department head before returning to Drexel in 1986 as dean of the College of Engineering. During his tenure at Drexel, he was responsible for increasing the number of engineering students from 1,200 to 3,500 and for more than doubling the college’s endowment. He also led the development of several new programs, including a cooperative education program that is now considered a model for other universities. In addition, he was instrumental in securing funding for and overseeing the construction of several major facilities on campus, including a $65 million recreation center and a $25 million materials research institute.
In 1996, Chuck Pennoni returned to private practice when he became chairman and CEO of Pennoni Associates Inc., which had been founded by his father in 1966. Under his leadership, the firm has grown to become one of the largest 100 engineering firms in the United States with annual revenues exceeding $200 million. The firm has worked on some of the most complex infrastructure projects in recent history, including the reconstruction of Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001; the restoration of Philadelphia’s historic City Hall; and the development of New York City’s second-largest sewage treatment plant. The firm has also been active in developing innovative solutions to address some of society’s most pressing challenges, such as climate change and energy independence. In recognition of its work, Pennoni Associates has been named “Engineer Firm of the Year” by both ACEC and NSPE.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Chuck Pennoni has been active in civic and community affairs throughout his career. He served as chairman of Philadelphia’s Zoning Board of Adjustment from 2002 to 2008 and was a member of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Commission from 2011 to 2012. He also served on President Barack Obama’s Transition Team for Energy Independence and Climate Change in 2008-2009. In addition, he is a trustee emeritus of Drexel University and serves on the boards of several other organizations, including The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern Pennsylvania, and The Friends Select School