John Peronto graduated with a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering and a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2003 from Marquette University. He earned his first Masters degree at Marquette with a focus on structural engineering.
The tallest or largest or greenest or boldest — these are the purview of Chicago-based engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti. “We definitely do the more flashy architectural jobs,” says John Peronto, an associate at TT.
He would know. Peronto is a structural engineer whose portfolio of projects features some pretty flashy entries, including the 150-story Chicago Spire; one of the world’s largest airplane hangars, in Memphis, Tenn.; the Federation of Korean Industries headquarters in Seoul; and Meraas Tower in Dubai.
Since 2009, Peronto’s focus has been a project that will tower over those architectural achievements. He is a member of the team designing the world’s tallest building, Kingdom Tower, to be built in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. When finished, it will stand more than a kilometer tall and send the definition of skyscraper into a new stratosphere.
“It’s a huge undertaking,” he says, “the most challenging of my career.”
Peronto came to Marquette to study electrical engineering. Then he took a course on statics, which is engineering for construction to withstand gravity, aerodynamics and seismic forces, taught by Dr. Christopher Foley, professor and chair of civil, construction and environmental engineering. He also worked in the construction field prior to his time at Marquette. “My background and classes with Dr. Foley carried my interests into structural and mechanical engineering,” he says.
Peronto went on to earn five degrees in five years, including a M.Eng in civil engineering at Cornell while working with Weidlinger Associates in New York. He’s been with Thornton Tomasetti for eight years.
“I am privileged to work with some of the brightest engineers and architects, people who are at the top of their game,” he says.
Peronto brings his knowledge back to campus, teaching engineering students at Marquette and Cornell. “It’s refreshing to see students who are so motivated and passionate about engineering,” he says.
— By Joni Moths Mueller