2021 40 Under 40: Pearl Odu, PE, LEED AP, 40

Senior Associate, Senior Electrical Engineer, Kohler Ronan; BS, Mathematics, New York University; BS, Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology

By Gary Cohen, Chris Vavra and Amara Rozgus May 17, 2021

Odu joined the New York City office of Kohler Ronan five years ago and now oversees a team of six electrical engineers and is responsible for scheduling projects, assigning team members, allocating resources, leading weekly meetings and ensuring quality control of the department’s electrical design. As Odu has assumed more responsibility, she has increasingly engaged in business development, which suits her extroverted personality well. Odu was born in Bryn Mawr, Pa., and raised in Nigeria, where the majority of her family still resides. As a child, she was always taking apart appliances or electric devices to learn how they functioned. These days, nothing pleases her more than working through design ideas with a project team of architects, structural engineers, lighting designers and acoustical professionals. She’s also a natural leader who gets excited about the impact she can have on the next generation of engineers. As a female engineer, she’s particularly delighted to witness the growing number of females entering the industry. For years, Odu has volunteered with the Ace Mentor Program, which inspires high school students to consider careers in architecture, construction and engineering and Breaking Ground, which strives to end homelessness around New York City. She also is passionate about the environment and volunteers regularly for New York City parks. Outside of the office, she finds relaxation and enjoyment practicing yoga and playing pickup basketball. But first among her preferred activities is reading. A big fan of James Baldwin, she is inspired by the quote: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”