Jim Patton

Retired President of the Americas Division of Black & Veatch
2003 DESA Recipient
Primary office:



  • B.S., Civil Engineering, 1964

Jim Patton, Overland Park, Kan., retired in 2002 as president of the Americas Division of Black & Veatch. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1964 from the University of Kansas. He followed that with a master’s in environmental health engineering, also from KU, in 1969.

Over the past 38 years at Black & Veatch, he progressed through the ranks from designer to project engineer, project manager, partner-in-charge and ultimately, president of the Americas Division and member of the Black & Veatch Board of Directors. During the past two decades he has served as the leader of the firm’s worldwide environmental practice.

In part due to Patton’s efforts and leadership, Black & Veatch sits among the top five of most of the environmental categories compiled for the Engineering News Record rankings. Patton was the architect of the global expansion of the Black & Veatch’s environmental practice. He arranged the acquisition of Binnie & Partners of the United Kingdom, greatly adding to Black & Veatch’s worldwide presence and environmental activities. This, coupled with additional acquisitions arranged by Patton, have given the firm’s environmental practice presence on six continents with 50 offices overseas in addition to the 50 domestic offices.

Patton has been credited with helping provide more than 1 billion people around the world -- including many of the citizens of Kansas -- with access to safe drinking water or sanitary water disposal services.

Patton has extensive involvement with a variety of professional organizations, including the American Water Works Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Consulting Engineers Academy. He has been involved in a variety of regional charitable organizations and willingly shares his time and advice to KU. He serves on the KU School of Engineering Advisory Board and has provided guidance on the KU/KC Engineering Education Advisory Board, the KU Center for Environmental Education and Training Advisory Board. He has been a strong supporter of the School of Engineering and KU Endowment.

Patton and his wife, Marilyn, reside in Overland Park, Kan. The couple has two sons and three grandchildren.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times