Q&A Jan 24, 2023

Get to Know Our New CEO: A Q&A with Bob Pragada

Bob has assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer at Jacobs. Let’s get to know him a little better.

On January 24, 2023, Bob Pragada officially assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer at Jacobs. While Bob’s no stranger to our company and shared successes, there’s always more to learn!


Let’s get to know our new CEO, Bob:


Hi, Bob. What year did you join #OurJacobs?


How has the company changed since you joined?

To understand how our company has changed, it's probably valuable to understand what has remained the same and what has grown– and that's the spirit of the people and our desire to do what's right for our clients, what's right for our teammates, what's right for our stakeholders, and go above and beyond to hold to our values.

I think what's changed is our culture. Our culture has evolved, especially during this last seven years, to become a culture of much more transparency, a culture of inclusion, a culture where we can feel we're liberated to bring our authentic self to work and be who we are – be our very best selves.

How have your responsibilities changed over the years?

I’ve held many positions in my time at Jacobs such as Group Vice President for the Northern Region (Advanced Facilities-Global); Senior Vice President, Global Sales; President of the Global Industrial and Buildings & Infrastructure lines of business; Chief Operating Officer and now CEO. So, I’ve been responsible for various different geographies in sales, operations and corporate functions and witnessed firsthand how the company operates.

What makes you stay at Jacobs?

The people and the impact we have on the world. I look forward to coming to work every day and connecting with our enthusiastic people from around the world.

What is your proudest moment at Jacobs so far?

The successful acquisition of CH2M HILL in 2017 and subsequent integration. It still is the largest and most successful acquisition in Jacobs’ history and within our industry. More recently, the launch of our Boldly Moving Forward strategy. Both events were a massive team effort over months and years – resulting in the advancement of Jacobs for all.

Looking at the year ahead, what do you hope to accomplish?

There are a few things I’m excited about:

  1. The successful stand up of Divergent Solutions (DVS) and ongoing collaboration between DVS and our Lines of Business.
  2. Continuing to strengthen our relationship with PA Consulting and enhancing our consulting and advisory accelerator.
  3. Working hard to achieve the goals we set ourselves in our Boldly Moving Forward strategy.

In your role, what plans do you have for 2023?

My plans for 2023 are two-fold:

  1. Create and foster a real teaming culture where it’s not just about me as a leader, but the whole global leadership team – and the collective strength of each and every one of us working together to challenge today and reinvent tomorrow.
  2. Double down on our strategy and take the company to new levels of success.

A year from now, what would you want to say about your leadership in 2023?

I’d really like to be known as a team player – a leader who brought everyone together and enhanced the working environment for all. I try and live by the mantra: “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” A year from now, I hope that this has been apparent to those around me and has had a lasting impact on our people and our culture.

“I’d really like to be known as a team player – a leader who brought everyone together and enhanced the working environment for all.”

Bob Pragada

Bob Pragada

Jacobs Chief Executive Officer

Now, let’s get a little informal. What was the first job you ever had?

In the eighth grade, I worked as a dishwasher at an Italian restaurant in Chicago, Illinois.

What’s the best advice you ever heard?

It was from my uncle, who provided a lot of advice over the years, but my favorite I continually share with my sons is to: forever be humble, but always with confidence.

If you were to go to the moon, who would you take with you?

My family…if they weren’t available and I could take anyone (dead or alive) then I’d probably ask Gandhi to join me.

What is your favorite weekend activity?

On the weekends, you’ll find me either participating in or watching sports. When I was younger, my sport of choice was rugby, but my body doesn’t recover like it used to. These days, you’ll probably find me on the treadmill or the golf course.

Walk us through your morning/evening routine.

I must start each day by working out in the gym or going for a run to get myself into the right frame of mind. I enjoy walking to work in the morning if I am in the Dallas office and getting a cup of coffee to set me up for the day. In the evenings I often work quite late, have a client/network dinner or an event to attend. Once home I try to chill out and switch off by watching sports (literally any sport will do!),  If no sports are on, I’ve been known to watch the occasional Netflix series. But catching up with my family in the evening is my favorite kind of down time. 

On that note, what have TV shows or series have you been watching lately?

A recent one that I polished off and then recommended to my mother was “Bad Sisters.” I’m also a big “Jack Ryan” fan.

What are your most played Spotify songs and playlists?

At the end of the year, Spotify reports to users their most played songs for the year in what they call Spotify Wrapped, which can be shared across your personal social channels. My younger son called me when they started coming out in December and asked me to send my most-played songs for 2022 so he could show his friends. The reason being is because my list looked awfully similar to both of my sons' lists.

The way my fatherhood has worked out is up until the point they were 14-15 years old, my sons learned from my musical taste, then it flipped, and I began to learn from theirs. This years' list was pretty much dominated by Meek Mill, Drake, Jay-Z, Migos and maybe a few others. You can tell rap is my top genre.

On the flipside, there’s also a playlist I listen to when winding down for the day. You can follow my ‘Chill List’ on Spotify here.

Lastly, what excites you most about the year ahead?

I've got to go back to the people… but from the perspective of our ability as a company to have a positive impact on the world. Where we sit today as a company and what we do for our clients and where our clients are impacting the world, whether it be ESG and climate response, national security, or manufacturing the world's transformative treatments and therapies. It's a special time to be at Jacobs and the impact that we're having is special. It’s going to go nowhere but up from here.

About the interviewee

Bob Pragada

Bob Pragada brings more than 30 years of global business leadership and military experience to Jacobs, including 17 years with the company and nine years as a Civil Engineer Corps and Seabees Officer with the U.S. Navy.

Bob joined Jacobs in 2006, holding several senior management positions over eight years, including Senior Vice President, Global Sales; Group Vice President, Northern Region (United States and the Republic of Ireland); and Vice President, Field Services. He returned to Jacobs in 2016 as President of the global Industrial and Buildings & Infrastructure lines of business and led the successful integration of CH2M, a $5 billion diversified technical services leader in infrastructure, water, environmental and nuclear sectors. He was also instrumental in Jacobs' strategic majority investment in PA Consulting, a multi-billion-dollar world-leading digital consulting firm, where he now serves as a Board member.

Bob is a graduate of Stanford University, where he earned a Master of Science in engineering and management. He serves as a trusted advisor to Eaton (Director), Brightstar Capital (Advisory Council Member), the Dallas Mavericks Foundation (Advisory Council Member), the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation (Director), and most recently Mr. Pragada was appointed as the 2022 Chair of the Dallas Regional Chamber.

Join #OurJacobs team

What drives you drives us as we work to build a better world – together. At Jacobs, every day is an opportunity to make the world better, more connected, more sustainable. We’re always looking for dynamic and engaged people to join our team. Bring your passion, your ingenuity and your vision.

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