Bravo! Entrepreneur Award Winners: John Kissinger

John Kissinger



Employees: 270

John Kissinger, chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based GRAEF-USA Inc., is leading the company at a time of great change.

Not only is the engineering firm preparing to move its national headquarters to downtown Milwaukee, but it’s also working to expand its footprint in other regions of the U.S. and in other disciplines that Kissinger believes will help solve some of the largest issues of the 21st century.

Later this year, GRAEF will move its nearly 200 Milwaukee-area employees into The Avenue, the former Shops of Grand Avenue mall that’s being redeveloped to include office space and a food hall. GRAEF is involved in this project, and thus will be working to reimagine a space it will soon call home.

Kissinger believes that having a significant downtown presence will help the company recruit the next generation of talent.

“The Avenue really sold us on their vision,” he said. “We felt that we could be part of that catalytic project and be part of that rebirth.”

Meanwhile, the firm is working to grow its presence in the southeastern U.S. Last year, it acquired Miami-based Consulting Engineering & Science Inc. That acquisition was made both to grow GRAEF’s presence in that region and to expand its practice in the water market.

Kissinger said many major problems the world now faces revolve around energy, water and transportation.

“I think civil engineers can help with those issues,” he said.

With offices in Orlando and Miami, Kissinger said the plan is to continue expanding there.

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