Our success is due to the combined efforts of each and every employee
Sustaining a high-performing firm like ours means never being satisfied with what we did yesterday. Ongoing improvement means that our leaders must foster a workplace that values renewal. Given our growth in recent years, we have continued to hire talented people with outside experience and ideas that make us better. We then find ways to couple those fresh perspectives with our proven practices that deliver great projects for our clients. And the opportunities to do that are limitless.
Connect with Taylor
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Taylor Kelly, PE
President & CEO
In March 2010, while driving down I65 to a attend a project meeting, I saw a horrendous sight—a semi on the northbound shoulder, emergency vehicles, and burn marks on the adjacent rock wall. Earlier that day, the semi had crossed the median and struck a passenger van, claiming the lives of eleven people, including eight members of a single family. Passing the site again on the way home, I knew that the state would be inspired to act quickly. I pledged to myself that, if called upon to assist, I would do whatever I could to help make the corridor safer.
The Governor acted quickly, challenging us to deliver plans—within six months—for widening and improving the first of four unsafe sections of I-65. The corridor is 21 miles long, and includes a barrier wall to prevent median crossover accidents. Because of the needed environmental clearances and other obstacles, folks said, “It can’t be done.” Yet we did it. It remains one of the proudest accomplishments of my career.
Glen Kelly inspired me to become an engineer. Glen is not only one of the finest highway engineers in the history of Kentucky, he also happens to be my dad and President of Qk4. When I chose to join the same profession, I knew that I wanted to create my own identity and establish myself as a competent engineer without reliance on him to help advance my career. Therefore rather than pursuing the chance to work with him at Qk4 (then Presnell Associates), I went to work for a competitor, where by the mid-2000s I became the youngest owner. I left the firm to become an entrepreneur in the construction industry; however, that job only reinforced for me that my true calling would be as a design engineer.
Once I made the decision to return to highway engineering, I resolved to work for Qk4, because of how my father talked about what a tight-knit family Qk4 is, irrespective of our own bond as father and son. To a person, the people of Qk4 know each other’s families and what is going on in their lives—both the good and the less so, the joys and the heartbreaks. It truly is a second family.
It is doubly rewarding to be able to spend most workdays (and some weekends, too, truth be told) learning from and working with my dad.
Today, what I strive for is mastery of solving the “impossible” engineering challenges. At the same time, I also strive to help ease the burden on the state and local highways professionals who are continually asked to accomplish more with fewer resources. I can do that by eliminating needless worry and effort for them.
But that’s not what drives me. What drives me is the thought that what we do might help improve, and even save lives, such as the lives of those eleven people on the highway five years ago.
Connect with David
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David Reed, RLA
Chairman of the Board, Chief Operations Officer, Sr. Vice President
As a wet-behind-the-ears landscape architect in a two-person firm in east Louisville, I was thrust quickly into face-to-face involvement with clients and their projects. I learned swiftly that solving the unique site challenges of a given project are secondary only to the challenges of serving people, that is, the owners and users of the environments I help create. The people involved in a given project have their own unique personalities, preferences, visions, and needs that must be served.
To serve those needs, landscape architects must understand the communion between people, buildings, and the land, including all its natural systems.
While helping owners develop environments wherein people can live, work, find enjoyment, and prosper, responsible landscape architects also strive to be stewards of the land. As an avid fly-fisherman and outdoorsman, I count on others to create and protect environments where I can fish and explore. In each client endeavor, I have a similar responsibility to do the same for the environments I help my clients craft.
I enjoy creating unique streetscapes and plazas where people can experience nature in a built environment; for example, the University of Louisville Freedom Park Improvement. On a grander scale, I am proud of Qk4’s role in The Parklands of Floyds Fork. At 2,700 acres, The Parklands is one of the largest and most successful recent urban parks projects in the world.
Today, after many office moves, I now work less than a block away from where I began my journey as a landscape architect 30 years ago. No longer wet-behind-the-ears, I am a shareholder, Senior Vice President, and a member of the Board of Directors of Qk4. In my role as a leader here, I help create an environment where people can work, prosper, and feel like family. I believe that we succeed in creating a communion of people and work…and I am proud of that.
Connect with Mike
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Mike Vickers, PE
Chief Financial Officer, Vice President
Civil Engineering has become the pathway for my curious and ambitious mind to make today safer and better than yesterday for countless people. I am blessed to “roll up my sleeves” with the Qk4 family delivering some of the most challenging, constrained, and rewarding projects.
As Qk4’s Western Region Office Manager and Structural Project Manager, I have participated in all the realms of work I enjoy most. Through projects like KYTC’s Statewide Scour Assessment and KYTC’s Statewide NBIS Safety Inspections contracts, I have been able to put my experience as a bridge inspector and innovator to work helping ensure the bridges of the Commonwealth are safe for the travelling public, while also employing processes and techniques to save valuable resources for our clients.
As part of our leadership team, my talents in process implementation, resources management, business development, and talent recruitment have been utilized and necessary. As Qk4 moves forward as a partner of the “Bridging Kentucky” consultant team, which will deliver over 1,000 bridges through construction in 6-years, we are charged with being leaner, more efficient, innovative, malleable, and unwavering in our ability to achieve client satisfaction and overall project success. Challenge accepted!
At an early age, my mind focused on creating and constructing in every sense of these words. As years passed, primarily through sports, I grew to love team dynamics and the importance of accomplishing a common goal together, and not alone. Most importantly, I yearned to have a positive impact on the people around me. Through a broad range of experiences involving living in third world countries, managing construction, process and asset management, structural engineering, and marrying my soul mate, my mind remains as curious and ambitious as ever to put these qualities into action at Qk4.
As cliché as is sounds, I love what I do, and I love the people I get to do it with. Beyond our work, great joy comes from working with people you genuinely care about and that you know genuinely care about you. Over my years with Qk4, some of my favorite days have included learning about my colleague’s families, discussing shared life challenges with many of them, and adding long term friends to our team. Surrounded by people I trust whole-heartedly and those that I have grown to trust as my own, we continuously challenge and push each other to be the best versions of ourselves. Our clients and the public expect and deserve this from professionals, and at Qk4 we are able to put the client and public first, in all that we do, because of the trust we have in each other to achieve the task at hand.
As I prepare to put my head on my pillow tonight, and as I wake up tomorrow, I know my day as a Civil Engineer will be as unique as the previous one. I know the projects we work on will all be different and pose their own unique challenges. I know once planned out, designed, constructed, and put into service each of these projects will have a profound impact on someone and their day will be better and safer because of them. I also know I am truly blessed to be a part of a wonderful team, and for that I am grateful.
Connect with Albert
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Albert Zimmerman, PE
Transportation, Highways and Structures, Vice President
Having worked on projects in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and North Carolina during my 20+ years at Qk4, I have been afforded the opportunity to see how four state transportation departments approach highway design projects. I have applied some of the best practices of each state to all my design projects. For example, Tennessee requires that environmental boundaries for wetlands and streams be shown on the plans; that has enhanced my awareness for determining environmental footprints and probable in-lieu costs for Kentucky projects. Projects on which I gained the most experience are:
Kentucky: I-64 in Jefferson and Shelby Counties
Tennessee: SR 111 in Sequatchie and Van Buren Counties
West Virginia: WV 9 between Charlestown and Martinsburg
North Carolina: NC 55 in Mooresville
I-64 widening produced a challenge between a proposed overpass bridge design and a major overhead utility tower. Louisville Gas & Eelectric estimated a two-year delay to the project for tower design and relocation. My staff and I redesigned our profile grade to save the existing bridge and still meet horizontal and vertical clearance criteria for the widened interstate.
I started my engineering career by specializing in drainage design with the highlight being developing the drainage documentation for the entire Toyota Access Roads project in the mid 1980s. I transitioned into complete plan development and project management during tenures in North Carolina (2 years) and West Virginia (3 years) with my previous employer. During my 20 years at Qk4, I have been fortunate to work on many Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Louisville Metro projects. Our design for Johnsontown Road in southern Jefferson County provided an improved link between Dixie Highway and the Tradeport Industrial Park along the Greenbelt Highway. The project earned an APWA Award.