CCEE Hall of Fame

Jim Nissen

Significant contributions to the advancement of operation management in commercial and institutional construction, and to the Iowa State University Construction Engineering program

Inducted 2021

Jim Nissen was both a football letterman (1976-1980) and construction engineering student in his time at Iowa State. Before he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Construction Engineering in 1981, he worked during his summers as a construction laborer for local Iowa contractors.  Nissen joined the Pepper Team as a surveyor and field engineer eventually adding credentials with a Masters degree in Business Administration, LEED professional accreditation, and a Certified Professional Constructor accreditation.  After working through all of Pepper’s Project Management titles, he became president of Pepper Construction Company and president of Pepper Environmental Technologies in 2013.

Nissen has been a critical element to the success of Pepper for 40 years and has successfully led some of its largest and most complex projects. One of his first projects was for Allstate Insurance Company and Pepper has continued to work on their campuses ever since. He established Pepper’s self-performed work as a separate business unit in 1993 and it has become a critically important part of Pepper’s business.  Nissen also led Pepper’s team in the historic restoration of Wrigley Field, among many others.

Nissen truly started at the bottom and worked to the top. He has served on the Board of the American Institute of Constructors for over 10 years as well as the Construction Engineering Advisory Council and has been influential in hiring and mentoring Iowa State construction engineering graduates. Every year, Iowa State students get the opportunity to visit a site thanks to Pepper Construction and Nissen.