What is one of the first things you notice when entering a city? The infrastructure; bridges and buildings. The allure of helping design and build those easily recognizable monuments of science and technology, was enough to sway me in choosing engineering as a career. Designing a structure that will last 50+ years is a legacy in and of itself, and why I love what I do for a living.
The St. Louis cityscape has always been a source of engineering inspiration for me. The Gateway Arch is a unique feat of engineering and design with its inverse catenary shape. Furthermore, there is a lot of transportation infrastructure squeezed into the St. Louis metropolitan area, which leads to an abundance of bridges to admire. Plus, given my St. Louis sports fandom, it’s hard not to appreciate the design of Busch Stadium III (go Cardinals!), and the homage it pays to the nearby historic Eads Bridge.
Early influences. I love a challenge and enjoy being the go-to guy for solving unusual design problems, which keeps me mentally occupied. I was always building things with LEGOs and Construx, so it was a natural evolution to now be designing and building things for a living; I have my father to thank for that. He naturally saw the connection before I did, and encouraged me to pursue engineering school. Although, I did throw a low-60s fastball when I was 12 and could’ve been the next Bob Gibson. Too bad life steered me away from baseball and the associated paychecks, right?
Work at Schemmer. I joined Schemmer in 2014 and work on design, inspection and construction projects for bridges and culverts. I am also involved with in-house software development for bridge design, which I quickly became enamored with. It has allowed for a significantly more efficient and effective design process for complex steel structures, such as the US 34 bridge over the Missouri River, south of Omaha. It was the first major design job to utilize software I wrote to extract and assemble the force effects calculated by finite element software bridge models.
Goals in the next five years and beyond. I intend to help the company with more complex bridge designs, particularly steel structures, which is where much of my work experience lies. Along the way, I would also like to become a certificated shareholder.
At the end of the day, if I feel like I have helped advance society, made a difference in someone’s life to the positive and generally “earned my keep”, then I can go home happy and would consider my life and career a success.
Outside interests. I am a music buff and still own physical hard copies of nearly 300 CDs. I have music from many genres ranging from the 60s until today, but the vast majority would be classified as rock music. The best way to describe my style of music, would be with the lyrical wisdom of Meat Loaf, “I like my music like I like my life: Everything louder than everything else!”
I’ve spent a lot of money (or too much money, depending upon who is asked) on upgrading audio-visual equipment in my car to further my enjoyment of music on my long drives home to Iowa City and St. Louis, where most of my family resides. I always look forward to Thanksgiving when over 30 members of my extended family gather from around the country, while eating ridiculous amounts of good food. I also enjoy gardening/landscaping now that I own my first home.
Fun fact: I have a special talent for metabolizing Diet Pepsi and occasionally Diet Dr. Pepper.