EXPOSED | Schemmer Geotechnical Engineer Loras Klostermann, P.E.

Klostermann_casualWork as a Geotechnical Engineer. I guess it’s no secret that I like working in dirt. I love to discover what the properties of soil are, and why they occur. At Schemmer, I work on a multitude of projects that require a geotechnical or testing component. I am a subsurface detective, defining the nature and properties of unseen building materials.

Project Spotlight. Some of my older projects include Rosenblatt Stadium, Riverfront Condos, Schemmer’s office building, several Douglas County and Omaha bridges and the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge, which I performed analyses of and wrote the soils report for. We found that the bedrock below the Missouri River varies from a depth of only 30 feet at the Omaha shore to 110 feet deep at the Council Bluffs Levee. However, the most striking finding was a sharp 10-foot change in bedrock elevation directly below the large center support of the bridge. Finding unusual data on soil and finding the cause in order to accomplish the client’s goal is rewarding. Working on that project was a great personal achievement of mine.

Future Prodigy. My goal in the next five years is to find a deserving individual that has a similar passion for geotechnical engineering, and teach that person all of my tips and tricks.

Early beginnings. Growing up, you could say I had a career in farming. I worked with soil as an agricultural medium, plowing and cultivating on our family farm. I milked the cows twice a day and did a lot a manual labor assisting my parents and uncles in numerous barn and outbuilding construction projects, as well as repairing farm equipment. In high school, I was hired as a plans draftsman at a civil engineering company, back when everything was hand drawn prior to the launch of AutoCAD. In college, I excelled in structural and transportation classes, but working with dirt still intrigued me. Now, I am able to use my science and math skills and still play in the dirt.

Volunteer Work. My wife and I began volunteering for the Susan G. Komen race about three years ago, after our oldest daughter passed away from colon cancer. Last year, we were asked to be Chairpersons of the prestigious race, and gladly accepted the challenge. We were requested to continue as Chairpersons again this year and look forward to another successful race to raise awareness of and funds for breast cancer research and assistance.

Hobbies. I spend my extra time gardening and working with my in-laws on their family farm where I continue my love of ecological agriculture and engage in field cultivation, machinery repair, harvesting and care of the livestock.

After raising two daughters, I am enjoying spending time with my new granddaughter, Nora; she already takes after me in so many ways.

Fun Fact. I enjoy reading and star gazing. I recently bought an astronomy app to help identify stars, planets and satellites.