42 Alaska Business | February 2018 www.akbizmag.com
T I O N Architecture & Engineering 2017 Engineer of the Year
Joseph Taylor, PE, is the 2017 Engineer of the Year, nominated by the Alaska Soci- ety of Professional Engineers Anchor-
age Chapter. Taylor has more than thir-
teen years of engineering experience,
including projects that range from
rural roadways to congested city
highways. Recently Taylor transi-
tioned from working for CH2M to
his new position as an associate at
Lounsbury & Associates. He values
his experience working at CH2M:
“It was a great work environment
and CH2M has great people,”
Taylor says; however, he is enthu-
siastic about new opportunities at
Lounsbury & Associates, Alaska’s
oldest surveying and engineering
company, founded in 1949. “It’s a
smaller firm, but it has a long his-
tory in Alaska, serving the state for
more than sixty years. I’m excited to
Taylor earned his bachelor of sci-
ence in civil engineering from Portland
State University and a master’s in civil
engineering from the University of Alaska
Anchorage. He’s an active member with the
Alaska Society of Professional Engineers
and volunteers annually for the Anchorage
Engineers Week, taking place this year Febru-
“The really cool thing about engineering is
how much of it is a part of every day and no one
really notices,” Taylor says, speaking of common engineering marvels that include clean
drinking water, working traffic lights, or the
management of storm water runoff from urban roadways.
Below, Taylor shares some of his engineering background, expertise, and advice.
What attracted you to engineering
as a career?
Like most engineers, I was pretty good at
math and science as a kid. I participated in
summer science camps and made exploding volcanos for the science fair and things
like that. I took some advanced math and
sciences classes in high school. I was never the best student in class, but I wasn’t
afraid of taking technical courses. If I’m
completely honest, I was more interested
in playing sports growing up than I was
in finding a career. Engineering kind of
found me. The best I could do as far as
college football was a small tech school in
South Dakota. There were two career paths
offered there, nursing and engineering. I
picked engineering and before I knew it, I
fell in love with it.
What kind of engineering work
do you perform most often?
I am a civil engineer by education. Civil engineering is a broad discipline that includes earth
and soils engineering, water resources, wastewater management, site development, transportation, and some structural engineering.
My primary focus is on transportation engineering and site development, with an emphasis on roadway geometric design, site grading,
drainage, and utility designs.
What aspect of engineering
are you most passionate about?
Being a transportation engineer in Alaska is
unique because there are so many different
modes of transportation commonly in use in
our state. From pedestrian trails in our cities
to our ports, harbors, and ferry systems to our
highways and our rural airports, we have it all.
I’m personally pretty passionate about roads.
For me, there’s just something cool about connecting people and places via roadways. It’s a
practice that reaches back to the engineers of
some of the world’s oldest civilizations.
What project have you worked on recently?
The most significant project that I’ve worked
on over the past year is the reconstruction of
the Seward Highway from Dimond Boulevard
to Dowling Road. The Alaska Department of
Transportation and Public Facilities [DOT&PF]
is reconstructing the mainline, ramps, and
frontage roads to enhance safety and accommodate future capacity. The project is also adding a
new grade separated crossing under the highway
at 76th Avenue, adding sidewalks to the frontage roads, improving drainage, and connecting
Sandlewood Place to Lore Road, all while maintaining about 50,000 vehicles a day through the
construction zone. The DOT&PF, construction
contractor, and design team have all worked together in a spirit of collaboration to make this
project a success. The work is on schedule to be
substantially complete by the end of the next
construction season. [The Seward Highway reconstruction project has several phases and is
ongoing; for more information visit sewardhigh-way.info or alaskanavigator.org]
What’s an upcoming project
that you will be working on in 2018?
The project I’m most excited to be working on
in 2018 involves the reconstruction of the interchange at Dowling Road and the Seward Highway. The DOT&PF is studying what the future
long term traffic is expected to be at this location. Ultimately, they will select an improvement to accommodate the expected growth at
this location. I’m on the team that is going to
help with the design. Photo by Carleen Dawn