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 10 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.
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.
I started my land survey career in the field, and that has been a major help as I help manage the field crews and process the data that our crews bring in now. One of the biggest challenges is to ensure that – before our survey crews climb into their trucks each morning – they have the info they need to collect good survey data. When survey data comes back into the office, I make sure it’s complete, accurate, and usable by the engineers. Even though I’m a professional land surveyor and not an engineer, I try to think like an engineer. That way, I can anticipate what they need to create a design that can be built without surprises.
For example, if we are working on a highway improvement, it would be a terrible thing for our engineers to have designed a new storm drainage system and then during construction discover that there’s a telephone line that conflicts with a proposed storm pipe. When that happens, our engineering teams have to scramble to come up with a new design. That leaves the construction crew cooling its heels, which costs time, effort, and money. We can prevent that by looking ahead to what happens with our product when we pass it along.
I’m particularly proud of my part in the Bridging Kentucky project. We surveyed about 500 bridges in two years—pretty amazing when you think about it. To keep track of the status of those hundreds of bridges, I created a system to keep track of field crews, CAD operators, and outside services (such as 811) as all the components of each bridge survey were completed. In a matter of minutes, I could answer questions about the survey status of each bridge, including details like what utilities were notified of the project by 811 or who the field crew was. If on any given day KYTC needed to know the status of a particular bridge, I always had the answer at my fingertips. Knowing that I helped us survey 500 bridges in an impossible timeframe is a very satisfying feeling.
Even though I’m just two years into my career, it already feels like engineering is the career for me. One of the exciting parts about my job is that each day brings a different challenge. It never feels repetitive; something always happens that keeps you on your toes.
In engineering school, we learned textbook ways of doing things, but that’s not the way it works in the real world. We always see many ways of doing things, so we have to think through options to find the most effective way of achieving a goal. For example, on my current highway project, I communicate with the contractor to ensure the roadway is constructed to a standard that minimizes future maintenance.
Another great part of being out on construction sites are people in the field are always willing to explain what is going on. I have the opportunity to see the project from the contractor’s perspective and understand the phases of construction.
One thing that has most surprised me about this work is that it’s one thing to see a design on a piece of paper – it looks so small. And then you go out in the field and see how big it is – it’s mind blowing. I’m looking forward to learning all the end-to-end processes that make it get from people’s minds to paper and then out into the world.
I chose Qk4 because I had friends in classes who cooped there. When I got here, it felt like a family on the first day. It’s a close-knit group where people like working side-by-side to achieve something big for a client.
Civil Site AutoCAD Manager, Production Team Lead and Senior Designer
I play with cool toys.
I have a fun job at Qk4 because for over 30 years I’ve been asked to (or I’ve asked to) play with cool toys. For instance, AutoCAD. If I’m using CAD to design things that have never been designed before, it’s like playing a video game. I could work 12 hours a day or more and I wouldn’t mind … because it’s fun.
CAD software is cool, but flying little airplanes is cooler. A few years ago, we bought our first drone to help create video flyovers of our clients’ project sites. I fly the drone to record video and then use Adobe Premier editing software for pre- and post-production. We then pull it all into CAD to integrate it into our designs.
When my I’m not staring into the sky at one of my planes, I’m focused on getting things built on the ground. For the University of Louisville, I worked on the East Campus Roundabout and Gateway Project, where I got to do a little of everything. I designed the Freedom Park Pergola, signage and wayfinding to help people get around, majestic fountains, arches, decorative retaining walls, and small details down to the paver pattern in the center of the road.
For another campus project, I helped design a connector road over two railroad bridges. We designed fancy sidewalks and a large retaining wall. To beautify the nearby streetscape, we converted overhead utilities to underground by burying them.
So one day I’m designing roads and bridges and the next I’m designing fancy fountains and a pergola. Or flying a drone. Because of all the different things I can do for my clients and my colleagues, each day starts with my drive to work, wondering “What am I going to do today?” One thing I know for sure … I’ll get to play with cool toys.
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.
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 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.