Troy Nissen, PE, SE

Troy image

TD2 principal owner; professional structural engineer in Nebraska and four other states

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

B.S. civil engineering, Colorado State University, 1995.

When were you an intern, for how long and for whom?

From May 1992 until May 1995 during summer and winter breaks, I interned at TD2, working in the geotechnical area on the drill rig and in the soil-testing laboratory. I also worked as a construction site observer of earthwork/storm and sanitary sewer work and did AutoCAD drawing.

What difference did that time as an intern make in your career?

My internship years reinforced my decision to focus on structural engineering, which is a subset of the broader civil engineering field.

What were the most exciting/interesting things you did?

Working in the field is good exposure to engineering. It helped me narrow my field of study to structural engineering. Engineering is a broad profession. At TD2, I was exposed to land survey and civil, environmental, geotechnical and structural engineering. I learned a lot from Nelson Hymans, P.E., the structural engineer who brought the discipline to TD2. Internships can be painful. You go from doing well in school to thinking I know absolutely nothing. I was fortunate to recognize that pretty quickly and say, “OK. Let’s start learning.”

What did you learn as an intern that you didn’t learn in college?

College teaches you technical skills and problem-solving. They have to give you the question to solve with enough information so you can be graded on your technical understanding. In the real world, you not only have to solve the problem, you also have to determine the original question.

Did your internship land you a full-time job?

Yes, I joined TD2’s structural department full time in 1995, with a short hiatus to TAB Construction from September 2004 to February 2005. That experience brought me back to loving what I do. I have spent my career here at TD2.

How have you advanced your career?

We all start the same as an engineering student. I was fortunate to have my student internship at TD2, then joined the firm full time as an E.I., or engineering intern, earning and learning for the required experience before I took my professional exams to become a P.E., S.E. I became a TD2 principal owner in 2010.

What do you do at your current job?

Currently, Kip Squire and I manage the structural engineering department. However, we are both practicing engineers and continue to work on projects of all types. I am responsible for TD2’s heavy industrial projects. A specialty niche for the firm, I provide our industrial equipment clients with full engineering services for the construction and installation of their equipment lines.

What have been some advantages to sticking with the same company over the years?

The culture of every engineering firm is different. I understand and appreciate how we have changed over time and how we got to where we are today. We have the confidence, personnel and financial capacity to take on big projects.

Do you have an opportunity to mentor interns today, even in informal ways?

Yes, the open layout of our structural department with my station located out with everyone else really fosters the exchange of ideas, asking and answering questions and coming to a consensus. It isn’t unusual to have everyone chime in on solving a problem. I really enjoy the camaraderie we have developed.

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Steve Farrington, PE, LEED AP

Steve Farrington

Partner, Morrissey Engineering

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

Kansas State University from 1996 through 1999. Then the University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1999 through 2001. I majored in architectural engineering at both schools. Graduated with a B.S. in architectural engineering from UNO in 2001.

When were you an intern, for how long and for whom?

Intern at Morrissey Engineering for a year (2000 to 2001).

What difference did that time as an intern make in your career?

Being an intern shaped my career for a couple of reasons. First of all, in architectural engineering, there are three disciplines to choose from: electrical, mechanical and structural. Morrissey Engineering had an opening for an electrical intern. Prior to being hired as an electrical intern, I had not chosen an engineering discipline for my career. In essence, my electrical engineering emphasis was guided by being hired as an electrical intern. There is no substitute for real-world experience. As an intern you are exposed to a sampling of the work/projects you will see as a full-time employee. And most important, you are exposed to the effort it takes to be successful in this industry.

What were the most exciting/interesting things you did?

Morrissey Engineering was founded in 1999. I was hired as an intern in 2000. Looking back, I realize I was given a unique opportunity to be a part of building the foundation for a successful engineering company.

What did you learn as an intern that you didn’t learn in college?

College gives you the theory. As an intern, I was able to apply that theory to the real world. At Morrissey Engineering, I was fortunate to work on actual projects as an intern. Sure, I did my share of answering phones, making deliveries, etc., but working on projects allows for development as an engineer and insight into this industry. You get a taste for the work you will do after college.

Did your internship land you a full-time job?

Yes, I was hired full time after I graduated in 2001.

How have you advanced your career?

Throughout my career, I had many opportunities to grow. I started as an intern, moved to full-time employment, was support staff on projects, became a professional engineer, became a project manager and became a partner. Through lots of hard work, I was able to grow in my professional career and take advantage of the opportunities that were presented.

What do you do at your current job?

I manage projects from initial marketing efforts, to fee proposals, to design, to final construction and beyond. I am still hands-on during the entire design process. I build relationships with clients for continued future opportunities. Within the company I work with fellow engineers, support staff and interns to help develop our internal staff. The most enjoyable part of my job is being able to work with good people, both within our own company and with our clients.

What have been some advantages to sticking with the same company over the years?

I was able to be an integral part of Morrissey Engineering growing from just a handful of employees to over 60 people. I was able to help build the culture of the company and assist in adapting the company for future successes. By staying with the company, I have had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects and gain valuable experience. I’ve designed schools, auto dealerships, community centers, office buildings, churches, etc., with budgets ranging from a few thousand dollars to over $50 million. Being part of Morrissey Engineering for my entire career has allowed me to build lasting relationships with our clients and fellow co-workers.

Do you have an opportunity to mentor interns today?

I still get to work with interns today. In many ways, the intern positions haven’t changed at Morrissey Engineering. We still offer interns an opportunity to work on actual projects and be an integral part of the design process.

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Ka P. (Kip) Squire III, PE, SE

Kip Image

Ka P. Squire III

TD2 principal owner and vice president; a professional structural engineer in Nebraska and 18 other states

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

B.S. in civil engineering 1978, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

When were you an intern and for how long? For whom?

As a college student, I worked for Stellner Engineering Co. in Aberdeen, South Dakota, as a surveyor during the summer.

What difference did that time as an intern make in your career?

It gave me insight into the actual work performed by civil engineers and land surveyors.

What were the most exciting/interesting things you did during that time?

There wasn’t anything exciting. It was all routine land surveying.

What did you learn as an intern that you didn't learn in college?

See above.

Did your internship land you a full-time job?

Not with that firm, but having the experience on your resume is always helpful and most likely played a role in obtaining my first full-time job.

How have you advanced your career?

My first full-time job was in Omaha at an A/e firm for two years. In those days we were called E.I.T.s or Engineers In Training. I had great mentors at that firm, but I then came to TD2’s structural department,and after two years I took my test to become a registered professional engineer. I had a terrific boss in Nelson Hymans, P.E. As a mentor he gave me as much responsibility as he thought I could handle. With his guidance, I quickly became a project engineer. When he retired, I became an owner in the firm.

What do you do at your current job?

I am a practicing structural engineer, and as principal in the firm along with Troy Nissen, we are responsible for a 12-person structural engineering department. As a principal in charge of projects, I assign the appropriate staff for the project as well as oversee the design process from schematic design and structural system selection through construction documents. During construction, we consult with the project engineer and contractors as needed. We work with our architectural clients to achieve their vision and produce safe, functional and economical buildings.

What have been some advantages to sticking with the same company over the years? 

You get a chance to develop great long-lasting relationships with co-workers and with clients. You build trust with each other and become “partners” with our clients.

Do you have an opportunity to mentor interns today?

All the time. We have developed a very interactive, collegial environment, and I hope to have the same influence on our young engineers as Nels had on me.

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Marjie is a writer for The World-Herald’s special sections and specialty publications, including Inspired Living Omaha, Wedding Essentials and Momaha Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mduceyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1034.

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