“No day is ever the same.”
 Roadway design engineer … his title only begins to describe the breadth of activities of James’s typical day.
Q: Tell these fine people reading this what your title is.
A: My title is Roadway Design Engineer.

Q: What was the educational and career path that got you here, both to TranSystems and to your spot on the team?
A: I spent my college years at the University of Kansas. I declared my major in civil engineering after I spent a year studying Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. I received my BS in Civil Engineering in 2005.
I’ve always been wired towards computers and software and as I became more knowledgeable in the design process, I found myself exploring ways to leverage technology to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
I was happy to take an opportunity to join the TranSystems team in 2007. I continued to dig further into the design software available, aiming to best utilize the technology available on the market.

One of the first projects that TranSystems gave me the opportunity to work on was a rather high profile design/ build project, branded the “KCIcon Project.” This included the roadway design of I-35/29 connecting to the Christopher Bond Bridge over the Missouri River. I was part of a team that took on this somewhat demanding, fast paced project to success. My primary responsibility was to model our design in 3D and deliver it to the contractor for their use in staking and construction, which was a relatively new concept at the time. This was a very rewarding experience.

Q: Now….to the heart of the matter. I won’t hold you to this exact day, but average out your activities over the last couple weeks and tell us what ‘a day in the life’ might be like.
A: I wake up, eat breakfast and hit the road to work. Once I get to my desk I logon to my computer and begin the tasks that I try to have prioritized the day before. This often involves getting in to our design software (MicroStation and Geopak) and beginning design. This may be drawing geometry in CAD and modeling it in 3D, running calculations, looking over project costs or collaborating with other disciplines such as our bridge group.

I often spend a portion of a day on various responsibilities from a number of committees and organizations I take part in. This could involve coordinating accommodations for the American Public Works Association monthly luncheons, registering new members for our internal Toastmasters Club, or meeting with different technical groups focused on strategies to maximizing effectiveness through technology across disciplines and offices.

When there’s opportunity to pursue a project, you can find me visiting the site to get familiar with the project challenges involved. I may then practice for the interview with the team for when we are interviewed to be the firm selected to carry out the design. Brainstorming innovative approaches is always part of this process.

Team and project meetings are also on the agenda.
We are very good about helping each other out and sharing knowledge. This makes for a great team atmosphere.

When it’s time for a break, you will often find me laughing, maybe at the ping-pong table where the competition fierce, or perhaps at any one of the guys and gals with a great sense of humor around here.

Q: I think you like this work very much, yes? Tell us why.
  • No day is ever the same. 
  • Every project has a different set of challenges.
  • The availability of experienced mentors to help guide me when needed, while being empowered with the flexibility to use my judgment and methods to bring solutions to challenges.
  • The ability to be heard in the organization and help affect positive change.
  • The commendatory of my team.
  • Mentorship; from some great people who offer a lot to learn from.
  • The people.

Q: OK, sir, we’ll let you get back to it. One more thing, I’ve got a niece interested in going into engineering. Any advice for her?
A.      Do it!
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