When I was an intern at the University of Colorado in 1993, my first professional manager told me, “Jeff, you need to speak up more in meetings. You have valuable things to say.” It felt good to think someone cared about what I had to say, but honestly, back then I felt like I had very little to contribute and anything I did offer up was more speculation than opinions based on years of experience and knowledge gained in the field. So now, almost 20 years later and with much more experience to back me I felt it was time to speak up.
My career has followed the path of many engineers before me; from project engineer, to senior engineer, to project manager, to group manager, and now to owner/principal of my own company specializing in engineering and IT consulting and staffing at Enginuity Engineering Solutions, LLC (Enginuity). My primary focus over the years of my career has been water resources, or even more specifically surface water. When non-engineers ask what that means I tell them, “my job is to figure out where rain goes once it hits the ground; how much of it goes where; to determine what problems it creates for people; and to solve the problems it causes.” For those of you in the engineering space, my specific areas of expertise include floodplain management, master planning, floodplain hydraulic modeling, design of open channels, channel rehabilitation, drop structure design, design of stream stability and scour countermeasures, stream restoration, storm drains, and culverts. That expertise has been applied across a broad range of project types including planning, conceptual design, construction plan development, and construction management. I’ve seen projects all the way through from sketches on a piece of engineering paper until the project is fully constructed and usable by the public.
My career has been entirely served in the private sector. I started my civil engineering career in 1994 working for Taggart Engineering Associates, Inc. Under the guidance of William Taggart (Bill), whom I consider to be the best and brightest engineer I have ever worked with, I began to learn about the ins and outs of water resources design, analysis, and construction. Many of my first projects were simple floodplain analyses and designs, but Bill knew the value of seeing things built in the field and he sent me to the field in a construction management role on three projects: 1. Airport Creek in Wesminster, CO (a UDFCD channel rehab project); 2. Hidden River Subdivision in Parker, CO (a development project for which I oversaw all of the channel and pond construction work); and 3. Lena Gulch downstream of Maple Grove Reservoir (a UDFCD channel rehab project). These three projects seasoned me, allowing me to understand that getting things built right is not only about providing quality design plans and specifications, but being able to provide insight and guidance in the field to contractors to help them understand design intent.
After 4 years, which were worth much more than that in career years, I moved on to work for URS as a project engineer. The skills I had learned were quickly put to use on several large channel rehabilitation projects in Woodland Park, Colorado Springs, and Littleton. My skills in developing construction plans and hydraulic analysis continued to grow. I spent a short stint at Applegate Group where I had the opportunity to discover who I was and who I could be. From there, I moved to PBS&J ultimately becoming the Denver Water Resources Group Manager from 2004 to 2008. My experience at PBS&J grew my master planning and floodplain management skills and also exposed me to one of my favorite parts of the engineering business, applied technology. At PBS&J I fully developed my GIS skills and instantly became hooked on how I could be using GIS to further the engineering industry.
In 2008, with much forethought, but with much fear and trembling I started Enginuity with my business partners Kimberly Stewart and Donald Jacobs. Our goal was to create a new business model in the engineering marketplace. Enginuity is a solutions firm specializing in civil engineering and information technology. Enginuity is a unique blending of talent acquisition (recruiting and staffing) and consulting. By combining these two business models, Enginuity is readily able to meet both the short-term and long-term needs of our clients. It’s been an interesting ride so far since starting the company, but the amount of professional growth has been worth many more years than I what I could have gained anywhere else.
So what am I here to share? What I discovered at PBS&J was a passion for solving problems, seeing trends, seeing the big picture, and putting together all the puzzle pieces in a way that nobody has thought of before. I want to contribute to furthering the engineering community, solving challenges, and changing the industry. And I hope this professional blog provides hope and inspiration to others out there who have that same passion.