NEW YORK — James “Jim” L. Lammie, the former president, chief executive officer and non-executive chairman of Parsons Brinckerhoff (now WSP), died on Nov. 9 in Atlantic Beach, Florida. He was 91.
Lammie was a passionate, well-renowned advocate for advancing the engineering profession, and with dedication and zeal he made a significantly positive impact in many communities worldwide.
He advanced a dramatic, global expansion of Parsons Brinckerhoff during his decades-long leadership of the global business, with a specific focus on transportation, and nearly doubled the organization’s revenues to push the firm into its role as a global changemaker.
“Jim Lammie was the definition of a leader and continually preached the importance of ethics, stating, ‘Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of The New York Times,’” said David McAlister, WSP USA chief development officer.
Before joining Parsons Brinckerhoff, Lammie had a distinguished 21-year career in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where he served as leader of a Vietnam construction battalion, as well as the commander and district engineer of the San Francisco District and other highly esteemed roles.
Lammie entered the private sector with Parsons Brinckerhoff after retiring as a colonel from the U.S. Army. He then served as general engineering consultant to the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), overseeing milestones that include the system’s 1979 completion and opening of Atlanta’s downtown Peachtree Center station.
When Lammie took command of the MARTA project, he commented on how much fun it was to watch a project grow, and that sense of growth was central to much of his leadership at Parsons Brinckerhoff.
Lammie was the driving force behind several game-changing projects, including the start of the more than $14 billion roadway through Boston and under Boston Harbor, known as the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, as well as the $8 billion Taipei transit system, the UK’s West Coast Route Modernization Project and transit systems in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Lammie stepped down as CEO and director in 1996, after which he took on special projects. By 2006, he had retired as a full-time employee of Parsons Brinckerhoff and joined the board of directors. He went on to serve as the non-executive chairperson of Parsons Brinckerhoff and fully entered retirement once the firm was acquired by Balfour Beatty.
His many industry awards include the American Society of Civil Engineers lifetime achievement Opal award and the Society of American Military Engineers pinnacle Golden Eagle Award.
His colleagues are remembering Lammie as a passionate, community-minded leader with an unparalleled drive and dedication to colleagues working on the ground.
“I had the great privilege of knowing and working with Jim at Parsons Brinckerhoff,” said Paul Skoutelas, American Public Transportation Association president and chief executive officer. “He was a titan in the transportation industry; highly respected and admired. “He will be remembered as a gentleman, a person of humility and impeccable integrity.”
Lammie graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a bachelor’s degree in engineering, from Purdue University with a master’s degree in civil engineering, from the Command and General Staff College of the U.S. Army with a master’s degree in military art and from George Washington University with a master of business administration degree. He was a highly regarded academician and lecturer, offering a seminal lecture series on ethics and leadership at the U.S. Military Academy.
Editor’s note: Parsons Brinckerhoff was a global engineering and professional services consulting firm that assumed the WSP name effective May 2017, following its acquisition by WSP in October 2014. Parsons Brinckerhoff’s history dates back to its founding in 1885 in New York City by William Barclay Parsons, who was responsible for the construction of the original New York City subway line.
About WSP USA
WSP USA is the U.S. operating company of WSP, one of the world’s leading engineering, environment and professional services firms. Recognized on Fast Company’s Brands that Matter List for 2022 as a top Community-Minded Business, WSP USA brings together engineers, planners, technical experts, strategic advisors and construction management professionals who are dedicated to collaborate in the best interests of serving local communities. WSP USA designs lasting solutions in the buildings, transportation, energy, water and environment markets. With more than 15,500 employees in 300 offices across the U.S., WSP partners with its clients to help communities prosper. wsp.com
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