Mark Keller, P.E., S.E., a structural engineer at Hanson’s Chicago regional office, designs bridge and retaining wall components for rail projects throughout the country.
Mark, who joined the firm in 2015, received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a licensed professional engineer in Illinois and became a licensed structural engineer in that state at the end of 2020.
How I became interested in engineering: I was always interested in how things were built. I also enjoyed my math and science classes, so it seemed like a no-brainer to go into engineering.
What I do on a typical day on the job: I am usually running calculations for a bridge or retaining wall design or reviewing and marking up plan sets.
My favorite part of my job: My favorite part of my job is seeing photos or videos of the bridges I design or, on some occasions, visiting the bridge site. It’s great to see what I design come to life.
The biggest challenge I have faced on the job: The biggest challenge I have faced was studying for the structural engineering exam to earn my license. Because the exam does not cover railroad bridge design, I had to learn all the intricacies of the other structural engineering manuals. Also, the pandemic caused half the exam to be delayed by six months for me, which required me to study for a longer time.
Interesting projects I have worked on: Almost all the projects I work on are interesting. I enjoy the challenge of having to design railroad bridges that must be built within the short windows of time allowed.
What I like to do when I’m not working: I enjoy running and playing in my adult soccer league.