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Bechtel’s New Knoxville Office Provides Opportunity for Students

The opening of a new engineering office in Knoxville will help provide potential job opportunities for University of Tennessee students.

International engineering, construction, and project-management company Bechtel opened its newest office, the Engineering Execution Center, in Knoxville. The office will provide engineering support for the company’s numerous mission-based projects. It is the second new U.S. office opened by Bechtel in the past few months, with the other being in Chandler, Arizona.

“A big part of Bechtel choosing Knoxville was being next to the Tickle College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee,” Department of Nuclear Engineering Head Wes Hines said. “We have a really strong nuclear engineering program and have other good engineering programs they can lean on heavily to help them build their workforce.”

Bechtel, which is headquartered in Reston, Va., has a great history of working in Tennessee. The company has built nuclear power plants like Watts Barr and Browns Ferry and is working on projects at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Arnold Air Force Base in Tullahoma.

“Establishing Bechtel’s Engineering Execution Center in Tennessee was an easy decision,” said John Howanitz, president of Bechtel’s nuclear, security and environmental global business unit and a past member of the TCE Board of Advisors. “We look forward to deepening our relationships with communities and local businesses across Tennessee and recruiting incredible engineering talent across the region.”

Bechtel and TCE have collaborated in the recent past. Five years ago, the company contacted officials in the college about making nuclear safety more of a focal point in the nuclear engineering program. The college started a minor and a graduate level concentration in nuclear safety. Chip Lagdon, chief engineer of nuclear operations and safety for Bechtel, served as a professor of practice and taught a nuclear licensing class.

“The class has been a really big success, and the nuclear minor has been a big success,” Hines said. “I think by the second year, it was the most utilized minor in our department. There is a partnership that has been established there.”

Hines anticipates Bechtel’s new Knoxville office will bring “great value” to the college through the company’s expertise and the potential to work together on research grants.

“I think a lot of the biggest opportunities are for students,” Hines said. “They have a place where they can go and have a really great career, and if Bechtel has research needs, they can reach out to us, and we will help in any way possible.”


Rhiannon Potkey (865-974-0683,