Our success is due to the combined efforts of each and every team member
Due to our unprecedented growth, in the past 3 years we’ve grown by 40?% and more than half our people have been at Qk4 for fewer than xx years. As we grow, we are becoming increasingly diverse and that diversity will make us even better. Below, you can read about some of our rising stars at Qk4.
For me, one of the best parts of being a transportation engineer is the pride I feel when driving on, over, by, or through something I’ve helped get built.
After beginning my career in coastal Virginia, I moved back to Kentucky to be closer to family, while continuing to work on projects in Virginia. My desire to experience the results of the projects I work on day in and day out led me to a transition in my career; a move that brought me to Qk4. Here I am now proud to see and drive the projects I work on every day as I travel Kentucky’s roadways.
Unless you’re an engineer, you may be unaware of the utilities you drive over every day, how the traffic signal knows to turn from red to green, or how water safely flows off and under the road when it rains. When something works as it should, you don’t have to think about it – it’s a job well done. The details are invisible to most folks, but as a civil engineer I enjoy organizing and coordinating all those details.
Working at a mid-sized firm like Qk4 is terrific because, rather than being typecast into a narrow technical role, I get to play many roles and learn new things. Becoming a more versatile engineer is important and fun for me. It enables me to feel the pride that comes from knowing the invisible details of the infrastructure I use in my daily life.
When on vacation, I tend to get eye rolls and sighs when I tell the family that we’re going out of our way just to drive over an interesting bridge. Not just famous bridges like the Golden Gate — some are little-known. You might say I’m a little bridge crazy.
I take immense pride in keeping Indiana and Kentucky bridges safe for the traveling public. In my role as project manager for the structures group, I design highway structures and perform routine and fracture critical bridge inspections. I’m also a leader in developing Qk4’s tools and methods for structures asset management to help clients make better informed decisions about how to prioritize bridge projects to get the most bang for their buck.
One thing I wish I could do is to help dispel fears that bridges are in worse shape than they are. Despite some legitimate news coverage about bridges being functionally obsolete, most bridges are not on the verge of collapse—many are just in need of minor repairs and routine maintenance. If you’re responsible for structures at your organization, I can help you figure that out.
Well-designed roadways, parks, wastewater systems, and college campuses are often taken for granted … until they don’t function as they should. Many people don’t think about the engineering behind these systems and wonders of the built environment because engineering sits behind the scenes, mostly invisible. As a Marketing professional, I work to make sure people understand the time and passion Qk4 employees invest into every project. I thrive on the challenges that come with marketing a sometimes “invisible” service by supporting Qk4 through all things Marketing, including proposal coordination, internal and external marketing and communications, client relations, social media marketing, advertising, content development, and opportunity identification. It’s my job to make the invisible visible to our clients.
If you need something done quickly and accurately, I welcome the challenge because that’s when I’m at my best. And it’s fun for me. As a civil engineer, what I do for my transportation clients is to solve tricky problems. My tool of choice is CAD and the newest software toys. I’m always looking for ways to find new applications for cutting edge technology — to do something that others may not have thought of yet. That started when I learned CAD in college. It just made sense to me and I picked it up quickly. There was nothing better than when my classmates would say, “Go get Cody to draw it up for us.”
Part of the power of CAD is that – if a client needs something changed quickly and accurately — it’s never a point of frustration for me. Some engineers don’t like last minute changes because of the rework needed when you thought something was nearly finished. But at Qk4, I see it as a challenge to use technology to just make it happen, quickly and accurately, for our clients.
If you’ve driven over a bridge on one of Kentucky’s highways, there’s a chance I’ve done something, even if only something small, to keep you safe as you cross it. As a bridge safety engineer, I manage teams that perform inspections to make sure they that meet national safety standards.
One thing my clients appreciate about my work is that, because I’ve been on the owner side while at KYTC, I understand how bridge maintenance operates and collects data throughout the state. Data is important because the source and interpretation of data affects how you prioritize bridge projects. By applying inspection data to asset management, we can take a data driven approach that makes the decision process fair and objective.
The best part of my job is the balance between being out in the field and being in the office. I don’t want to do the same thing day in and day out and being out in the field helps make every day a fresh challenge.
When it comes to getting highway transportation projects done, nothing happens without a plan. My role at Qk4 is to help produce planning reports that help KYTC take the first steps toward improving Kentucky’s highways, project by project.
It is my job to help present the information in the report in a clear and compelling way, and the tools of my trade are Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite. I love it when my teammates come to me and tell me they can’t figure out how to make a document look or behave the way they want it to. Even if I initially don’t know how to make it do what we want, I wrestle with it until I figure it out.
I was proud to hear one of our transportation planners refer to me as a “wizard” who works magic with Microsoft and Adobe. I’m not ready to call it magic, though. It’s not as if I can wave a wand – it’s more like detective work and problem solving. And that’s one of the most satisfying parts of my job.
If I had to pick one example of what I do as a landscape architect to help clients achieve their goals, it might be . . . parking lots. They’re only a small part of what I do, but they help bring to the foreground things that go unnoticed unless they aren’t working properly. For example, if you’ve ever felt unsafe in a poorly lit parking lot or ended up ankle deep in a puddle, or if the shrubbery was brown and scruffy looking, then it might be hurting the owner’s business.
One current client, a bourbon distillery, wants to create a one-of-a-kind experience for its visitors. The visionary great-great-great-grandson of the founder is planning an amphitheater worthy of A-list music performers, lakes and trails for recreation, and a B&B, so you can spend the day and then spend the night.
I’m designing the overarching plan for the distillery grounds that will create the visitor’s experience. Good design considers how a visitor will experience the site, from navigating your car into the complex to the parking lot, to stepping out into the parking lot, to the first views they have of the lush grounds, and then how they circulate through the entire site. Holistic design projects like this are the most fun part of my job.
What’s more, the job flexibility at Qk4, where I work four days a week, means that I never having to worry about missing dinner with my husband and two small kids.
Throughout my career, I’ve worked on some of the most complex highway design jobs in Kentucky. That often means that I may work on a project for many years. For example, when the budget was cut for Louisville’s downtown interchange, we had to completely redesign it in less than a year.
I am proud of those complex jobs. I like designing something and then seeing it as it’s being built. When it’s done, I like to drive it and see that it works well.
But it’s also fun to work on short projects that require a burst of energy over the course of a few weeks, like a grant application. I work like crazy to design and write the grant, sometimes staying up until four in the morning. It’s gratifying when my client gets the money for a project that can make a difference in the community.
Over the years, I’ve designed several roundabouts, such as the ones at the UofL and in Owensboro, KY and am working on one in Southern Indiana right now. People often ask why we should build a roundabout. A major reason is because there are fewer severe – including deadly – crashes that often occur when one car broadsides another at a traffic signal or stop sign. When there’s a collision in a roundabout, there’s more likely to be less severe injuries to passengers.
It’s nice knowing that my work makes a difference across Indiana, Kentucky, and right down to my own community.