Louis Berger mourns the loss of long-time executive, board director and son of company’s founder
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Louis Berger, a global $1 billion professional services corporation, announced the passing of Fredric S. “Fred” Berger, son of the company’s founder and long-time executive and board director, on April 23. Mr. Berger died at age 67 at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., after an 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
Mr. Berger served as chairman emeritus of Louis Berger at the time of his death, and previously served as chairman of the U.S. operating company where he was responsible for overseeing the company’s long-range vision and strategic programs. He continued to play an active role in the company throughout his illness, helping usher in a new era of modernization and restructuring within the corporation, while championing the company’s global brand consolidation. He also expanded the company’s partnerships in China, memorialized in December 2014 with the signing of a 10-year joint venture contract extension with CHELBI. Today, Louis Berger’s 30-year joint venture with HPDI ─ CHELBI ─ is one of the longest standing U.S-Chinese joint venture companies in existence.
Since beginning his career with a three-week assignment in 1972 that turned into a three-year adventure in Nigeria, Mr. Berger remained actively involved in Louis Berger’s international development and engineering practices. During his career, he worked on four continents and managed projects in nearly 70 countries.
“The more countries I worked in, the more it reinforced my belief that engineers, to be useful in the 21st century, need to have international experience and a global perspective,” said Mr. Berger in a 2009 interview at Tufts University where he also served on the board of overseers. This belief would serve as a driving theme in Mr. Berger’s career as he would dedicate his life to advancing globalization within the engineering and development fields.
His extensive engagement in industry associations, education and government advisory committees has helped to shape an evolving global industry. He was honored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 2007 with an Outstanding People and Leaders (OPAL) award for his lifetime achievement in management. Mr. Berger served as liaison between ASCE’s International Activities Committee and the American Council of Engineering Companies’ (ACEC) International Committee. He also participated in the advisory board for ASCE’s professional capacity building program in Afghanistan. He served as a vice president in ACEC for two years and also played an active role on ACEC’s Engineering Excellence Awards committee.
In 2004, Mr. Berger became a founding trustee of the American University of Afghanistan, the only coeducational, independent, private university in Afghanistan. He served as advisory board member of the University of California, San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, and served on the International Advisory Council of the United States Institute of Peace.
During his career, Mr. Berger served as a chairman of the International Engineering and Construction Industry Council, where he led a delegation to Japan to open opportunities for U.S. firms to participate in the Japanese infrastructure expansion program. He also served on the Industrial Trade Advisory Committee on Services for the U.S. Department of Commerce and on the Export-Import Bank’s Southern Africa Advisory Committee. Locally, Mr. Berger served on the board at The Maret School, an international school in Washington, D.C.
A registered professional engineer, Mr. Berger earned a master of science in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s in economics from Tufts University.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth “Betty” Brannan, and his adult children Sofia, Nathan and Susana. Sofia Berger continues the family legacy as a third-generation executive in the company, currently responsible for leading operations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The funeral will be Monday, April 27 at 2 p.m. at Temple Sinai in Washington, D.C. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mr. Berger’s honor to the American University of Afghanistan at http://auaf.edu.af/giving/.
About Louis Berger
Louis Berger is a $1 billion global professional services corporation that helps infrastructure and development clients solve their most complex challenges. We are a trusted partner to national, state and local government agencies; multilateral institutions; and commercial industry clients worldwide. By focusing on client needs to deliver quality, safe, financially-successful projects with integrity, we are committed to deliver on our promise to provide Solutions for a better world.
Louis Berger operates on every habitable continent. We have a long-standing presence in more than 50 nations, represented by the multidisciplinary expertise of 6,000 engineers, economists, scientists, managers and planners.