Meet Ben Schmitt, vice president, mechanical engineer, and Sidney office manager at Farris Engineering.

Tell us a little about your business. – At Farris Engineering (, our essence is “Bringing Your Buildings to Life,” and that is what we do through our designs. The mechanical and electrical systems that we design are the cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous systems that distribute air, fluids, and electricity through the building. We have the opportunity and privilege to collaborate with other design team members and facility owners and view each interaction as an opportunity to broaden our knowledge and awareness. Farris Engineering was founded in 1967 and is a 100% employee-owned company with offices in Omaha, Lincoln, and Sidney, NE; and Kansas City and Colorado Springs. Our engineering services include mechanical, electrical, plumbing, technology, and life safety systems. While we work on many types of projects, our core work is centered around healthcare, higher education, K-12 education, and industrial facilities.

How did you get started in the business? – I have been a tinkerer and intrigued by building things since I was 4 years old and spent a lot of time in my grandpa’s workshop, which led me to pursue a degree in engineering. While in college, I had the opportunity to intern in the facilities management departments of UNMC and the Omaha VA hospital, which completely foreshadowed my desire to focus a majority of my career in healthcare engineering.

Tell us a little about your family. – My incredibly patient and tolerant wife Bryanne is an occupational therapist. We have been married for 10 years and we have a 6-year-old daughter, Liviana (Livi), and a son, Milo, that is nearly 2. They are BUSY!

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – In 2013, I was given an opportunity to relocate from Omaha and start a branch office of an engineering firm in my hometown of Sidney, NE. While the move enabled us to be closer to family, the greatest opportunity came on the business side of the transition. Starting the office from scratch was an intense experience but the on-the-job development of business acumen and learning what it takes to run a profitable office was also an incredible opportunity, especially since I was under the age of 30 at the time. Out of necessity, my role has expanded far beyond engineering and has helped me learn the ropes in business development and management of clients, projects, personnel, and finances—all key components for the success of a business.

What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – I have a bit of an “issue” with cars. To sustain my mental health, I always “need” to have a project car—or at least that’s what I tell my wife. I always think I’m going to keep the finished project forever, but a new project is usually lying in wait as I finish the previous one. I am currently working on a significant mechanical upgrade to a 1969 Ford Mustang Fastback that I originally restored while in high school. Other previous restoration and build projects include a 1972 Ford F-250, 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser, 1992 Toyota Land Cruiser, and a 1996 Lexus LX450.

If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be? – Determined.

If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be? – The Beatles were a staple in our household growing up and have had such an impact and influence on the entire music industry since the 1960s. It would be stellar to share a beer with Paul McCartney.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?(308) 203-2222;;