Engineers Week: Chris Keppner, PE

What inspired you to become an engineer?

One summer when I was in high school, I helped my uncle build a new house. I was fascinated to see all the different parts come together and become a finished home. That’s when I knew I wanted to be involved in the design or construction industry.

What is your favorite thing about being an engineer?

On the surface, it may look like the projects we work on are all the same. Every project has a geometry plan, a grading plan, a utility plan. But every project has a unique problem or issue that needs to be identified and solved. Finding these hidden problems and then developing an effective solution is what makes this job exciting.

What is your biggest reward?

Watching the young engineers in our office develop into confident professionals who are eager to tackle any project you throw their way. Being part of their journey from new graduate to licensed PE is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.

What is your favorite project you’ve worked on?

The Pampered Chef Headquarters in Addison, Illinois. I was a young engineer when my boss dropped this project on my desk, and it had every design challenge and permitting hoop imaginable. Entitlement headaches, angry neighbors, public hearings, stormwater detention, wetland impacts and mitigation, floodplains, local permits, county permits, state permits, federal permits, new roads, improvements to the local highway network, dry utility coordination, and the list went on and on. It was an unforgettable, yet successful project with a great team and a great client.