A curiosity about railroads was sparked in Tristan Rickett, P.E., at a young age. His desire to become a train engineer as a child ultimately led to his pursuit of civil engineering degrees, receiving a bachelor’s from Gonzaga University and a master’s from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he studied railroad engineering. Between earning his degrees, he joined Hanson’s Seattle regional office in 2011.
Tristan, an associate project manager, provides civil design services for railway projects in the state of Washington and beyond. He is a licensed professional engineer in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
How I became interested in engineering: At an early age, I was always interested in the light and freight rail around Portland, Oregon, where I grew up. My family, especially my grandpa, fostered this love by taking me on train rides around the local zoo and building a garden railroad for me and the other kids in the family. Playing in the garden railroad with the tracks and water features sparked my imagination on how these elements could interact with each other. This imagination and continued interest in rail and infrastructure inspired me to pursue a career in civil engineering with a specialization in railroad transportation engineering.
What I do on a typical day on the job: A typical day for me consists of developing track and civil designs, quantities and specifications for railway capacity improvement projects as well as assisting the project management, design teams and local government clients on fish passage improvement projects under freight rail lines in the Pacific Northwest. I also help other members of Hanson’s railway technical discipline overcome rail design tasks and challenges.
My favorite part of my job: I really enjoy helping people accomplish their goals and tasks — whether it is other Hanson team members or clients.
The biggest challenge I have faced on the job: Lately, my biggest challenge is finding better ways to help local government clients collaborate with freight clients on projects.
Interesting projects I have worked on at Hanson and innovations or efficiencies that were used on those projects: The BNSF Sandpoint Junction Connector and Meadowdale Beach Park bridge projects have been the most interesting to me. On Sandpoint, Hanson’s design team helped develop a multiphase project aimed to minimize impacts to local highway and bike/pedestrian traffic and Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho while paving the way for bridge construction. On Meadowdale, Hanson’s Pacific Northwest team members used our understanding of BNSF railway to help our new client, Snohomish County in Washington, design and construct a fish passage railway bridge that accounted for site access challenges and minimized impacts to freight train operations.
What I like to do when I’m not working: In my off-hours, I like indoor gardening, baking, playing board games and exploring nearby towns and cities.