The world is on an unexpected, unconventional, and uncomfortable ride but, at Snyder & Associates, we’ve made a commitment to help our communities adapt to this changing environment. We believe that roads, bridges, trails, buildings, parking lots, drinking water, sewer facilities, and stormwater management aren’t just infrastructure, but these built environments make our communities safer and more enjoyable. Thus, the small things we do at Snyder & Associates every-day make a big difference.
After a year of ups and downs, “Adapting & Thriving” has become our rally cry to help us through this challenging and complicated time. As a point of reflection, we encouraged our staff to share moments where they recognized the impact their work was having on the world around them.
Our firm President Dave Moeller, PE kick-off the activity by sharing a story about the 100-year flood event Central Iowa experienced in 2018.
“We don’t always have the opportunity to see our designs pushed to their limits,” he shares. “ When historic flooding put Fourmile Creek in jeopardy, the restoration and improvements we guided beforehand, weathered the storm.”
Prior to the flood, Fourmile Creek experienced severe streambank erosion that left sanitary sewer infrastructure at risk for exposure. Using natural channel design concepts and integrating ecological lift techniques, Snyder’s design team transformed an environmental liability into a community asset. Stabilizing the banks provided additional benefits including improved water quality, increased safety, and reduced flood risks.
It’s difficult to know what could have occurred without sound engineering to improve the resilience and integrity of Fourmile Creek, but the outcome was rewarding.
“We’re proud of how the restoration and overall improvements of Fourmile Creek performed,” he says. “Realizing the profound impact of our engineering brought fulfillment for the entire team.”
For Moeller and his colleagues, these moments bring the impact of engineering to light and capture the essence of our profession. We asked staff members to share their stories —here’s what they had to say:
I realize the many impacts Snyder & Associates’ longevity, growth, and values have on our dedicated staff. I’m proud to have witnessed staff start as summer interns, gain their licensing, and grow to become key leaders.
– Michael G. Geier, PLS, Council Bluffs Business Unit Leader, Chairperson of the Board
Working on the park design for Ada Hayden Heritage Park was a dream come true. Being part of what Ames community members consider their crown jewel is very rewarding, even now, 15 years later.
– Don Marner, PLA, Landscape Architect/Business Unit Leader
A recent team effort with the City of Ankeny involved analyzing and updating traffic signal timing and coordination plans at 48 signalized intersections. We received positive communication from the public about the improved traffic flow. It’s even more rewarding to know fewer crashes are likely to occur.
– Tony Boes, PE, PTOE, Traffic Engineer
While surveying, I witnessed numerous homeless people living near the area for a future homeless shelter addition. Knowing the work we completed was going to help provide temporary residence for homeless individuals and families was extremely humbling.
– Erin Griffin, PLS, Land Surveyor
Stream bank stabilization and low-head dam mitigation were completed to protect a large water transmission main under Squaw Creek. With the design nearing completion, four kayakers went over the dam and nearly lost their lives. I’m proud knowing our design will provide a safe recreation route for future kayakers, in light of the near-tragedy.
– Steve Klocke, PE, Civil Engineer
While surveying in Carlisle, two cars collided at the intersection under review for improvement. Thankfully, no one was injured. The incident was eye-opening. We don’t just improve traffic flow, we prevent accidents.
– Eric Miller, PLS, Survey Business Unit Leader
I worked on the Coralville Camp Cardinal Boulevard Extension project. While I no longer live in eastern Iowa, whenever I’m in the area I drive through the corridor. Observing the growth and development gives me the realization that what we do is not just a “job” but it truly transforms communities.
– Andy Burke, PE, Civil Engineer
For years, there was debate on downtown Des Moines becoming a true “home” for residents looking to live, work and play. The 420 Court project, consisting of a new Hy-Vee, apartment building and parking garage, was a breakthrough in the growth and sustainability of the downtown environment. I was pleased to hear friends discuss the development and share in my excitement as I worked on the project.
– Eric Cannon, PE, Civil Engineer
At the Prairie Heritage Civic Plaza ribbon cutting, it was moving to see the community enjoying features we designed for the park. I felt like I knew all the behind the scenes secrets to make it an amazing community space.
– Clay Schneckloth, PLA, Landscape Architect
Nothing compares to the visual experience of a completed project. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the amount of effort that goes into each of our designs and inspecting the implementation into construction successes with several different contractors working toward a common goal.
– Mark Webb, Construction Technician
Watching young engineers learn and advance in their knowledge and responsibility is one of the most rewarding aspects of my career. As a mentor, I take my responsibility for assisting future generation very seriously. The safety of several thousand vehicles on the road each day is something I think about often while completing structural bridge design.
– Jerome Hatlewick, PE, Structural Engineer
I found the research I completed on the historic plans for the Iowa State Capital building, Marshall County Courthouse, and Webster County Courthouse to be intriguing. Applying new engineering technology to these landmarks is very fulfilling. I’m proud to be part of the rehabilitation efforts for each of these buildings. Increasing their longevity allows future generations to enjoy them.
– Kevin Binder, PE, Structural Engineer
The world of right-of-way acquisitions is typically not popular, but working on ADA-compliant sidewalk and driveway upgrades along Belle Plain’s HWY 21 was an incredible experience. The landowners were thrilled by the wonderful improvement to their property! Now they have beautiful, new sidewalks with a smoother surface for baby strollers, wheelchairs, walkers, and their kids to ride bikes.
– Brian DePrez, Real Estate Acquisition & Relocation Agent
Working alongside the people who help bring an idea to life, I now have a better understanding and appreciation for the effort that so many people put into improving the world around us. Assisting project managers during various stages of development and then, ultimately being able to use and appreciate first-hand the final product has been eye-opening.
– Kym Dresback, Administrative Assistant
The Geotechnical MR_2 project in Council Bluffs is a subsurface project that goes almost entirely unnoticed, yet it’s one of my most rewarding projects. The project is critical in safeguarding the Missouri River levee during flood events and will protect countless residents.
– Brian Fortin, PE, Civil Engineer
During the planning processes for updating a Comprehensive Plan, we utilized numerous engagement techniques to ensure all community members had a voice and stake in the direction of the city’s growth for the next 30 years. I received many compliments about the plan, but none is better than city officials proudly using it for every development decision.
– Jared, Foss, AICP, Planner
Our complete street design for First Avenue Grade Separation in Iowa City was one of my first major projects. The positive impact on safety and addition of beautification features through streetscape design, made this the most rewarding project in my career to date.
– Jordan Gustafson, PE, Structural Engineer
One of the most fulfilling aspects of my job is being able to witness the excitement from the community. Whether we’re improving school facilities and sports complexes in a small, rural town or development of new townhome complex in the gateway to downtown Des Moines, what we do impacts not only the people associated with the project but entire communities. This makes each project more personal to me.
– Korey Marsh, PE, Civil Engineer
I agreed to speak at a children’s summer program in a working-class neighborhood. By polling the children, I found their park down the street – the one they all knew; the one they could walk to; the one they saw everyday out their window or on their way to school – was the most important public space in their lives. From this experience, I learned to never diminish the value of smaller, neighborhood parks. To invest in them is to strengthen the neighborhood and to enrich the lives of the children that live there.
– Mindy Moore, AICP, Planner
I’m blessed to bring 2D designs to life. I can convey existing and proposed scenarios, creating a virtual bridge between design and reality. Through digital models, engineers can identify potential areas for safety and design improvement and public communication is improved to those impacted by a project.
– Ariel Rauk, Engineering Technician
The McFarland School District athletic field project featured several new site improvements including a new track and synthetic turf athletic field. Our client was enthusiastic throughout the project and very happy during the final walk-through. I have great pride and sense of accomplishment knowing future student athletes will benefit from this project.
– Zachary Role, EI, Civil Engineer
I was humbled during a public meeting for the Mormon Trek Boulevard lane conversion project. A woman in the crowd praised city staff and our team for making pedestrian safety a priority. She lost her daughter during a car crash on this same roadway. I hang on to this memory and it drives me, in our firm pursuit of increasing community safety.
– Dax Suntken, EI, Civil Engineer
Encouraging Snyder & Associates employees to consider their realization of impact on projects provides our team the time to reflect on and take pride in their contributions, as they continue enabling our clients to overcome evolving 21st century challenges.