Derish Wolff, chairman of Berger Holdings, Inc., received the President’s Medal For Lifetime Achievement from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) during its annual black-tie benefit known as Celebration.
The festive evening of dining and dancing was held Nov. 14 at the Pleasantdale Chateau, West Orange. The proceeds from Celebration will benefit the Dorman Honors College Scholarship fund, which provides financial support to some of NJIT’s best and most motivated scholars.
Wolff, of Bernardsville, has been active in the consulting engineering profession since 1961, when he first joined the Berger Group, of East Orange, a global engineering firm that provides civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and environmental services. Prior to that he was a financial analyst for Stein Ericsson/Sigmund Werner, Inc., a sporting goods manufacturer.
During a career in which he has moved to the front rank of his profession, Wolff has worked in over 80 countries. Joining the Berger Group as a transportation planner, he was soon appointed chief economist. He was named vice president in charge of planning in 1968, with responsibility for supervising planning and technical assistance programs in more than 50 countries. Wolff was named executive vice president in 1976, president and chief executive officer in 1982 and Chairman in 2002. Additionally, he serves as a director of several corporations that include CHELBI Engineering Consultants, Inc., Klohn Crippen, EA Engineering, Science and Technology, Berger Devine Yaeger, Ammann & Whitney and Virginia Maintenance Services.
Over the years, Wolff has been a dynamic participant in a wide range of activities involving professional organizations, government and educational institutions. He has worked with the international engineering committee of the American Consulting Engineers Council, which he served as vice chairman and chairman, and he has been a delegate to the International Engineering and Construction Industries Council, serving as chairman from 1988 to 1990.
He was a member of the Presidential Trade Delegation to Japan in 1986, the Industry Sector Advisory Committee to the U.S. Trade and Development Program and in 1989 the Center for Strategic and International Studies Steering Group on GATT negotiations. In 2001, he was appointed to the Department of State’s Overseas Buildings Operations Industry Advisory Panel. He has been a member of the Breton Woods Committee since 1987. In 1995, Wolff was a participant at the World Hemisphere Trade Ministerial and Commerce Conference. He has also contributed to studies and programs dealing with international capital development programs.
Other past and current memberships include the Building Futures Council, the Advisory Committee for the Board of Trustees of NJIT and the Advisory Committee to the Huntsman Program of International Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Wolff has served on the editorial boards of various professional and industry publications and is the author of more than 30 articles on topics related to his broad expertise.
A 1957 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Wolff received an M.B.A from Harvard Business School in 1959. He has taught a graduate course at MIT since 2001. He has also shared his insights and experiences as a lecturer at the United Nations, the U.S. Foreign Service Institute, the New School for Social Research, Harvard Business School, New York Polytechnic Institute, the University of Denver, Rutgers University and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.