River City Six – Brad Lauritsen
Meet Brad Lauritsen, associate principal and mechanical engineer at KPE Architecture – Engineering – Forensics.
Tell us a little about your business.
KPE started in 2000 as a small engineering firm specializing in energy-efficient design and modernization of primarily commercial, educational, and industrial facilities. Several years ago, we started adding architects to the mix and grew to become a full-service architectural/engineering firm. In 2007, KPE started doing forensic engineering for the insurance claims and legal industries. KPE’s forensic engineering experience is a significant and unique differentiator between KPE and other A/E firms. Each year, we’re hired to investigate hundreds of property loss claims at commercial buildings involving structural deficiencies, envelope defects, water or air infiltration, roof damage, frozen pipes, mold, HVAC failures, plumbing failures, indoor air quality, construction defects, design errors and omissions, and more. These investigations serve as a continuous stream of knowledge and lessons learned that give us an advantage during both the design and construction process. When I started, we had nine employees and now have 20. There is so much room for growth.
How did you get started in the business?
I have a unique background with three really distinct phases of my career. Right after college, I worked for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Wichita, KS, as a structural analyst. Then, I moved to San Antonio to work for a research company focused on force protection and counter/anti-terrorism research for the government and military. After three years there, I was laid off and moved back to Omaha. I found KPE interesting because they did forensic engineering, which I had always been interested in. I started there in 2008 and began to learn the field of consulting engineering and HVAC design.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Being laid off, switching career paths, and learning a new industry.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
When we were selected by OPS to design the addition and renovations to Burke High School. It was definitely a highlight. I worked on the proposal, led the interview team, and served as the design team project manager.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
Bike ride on Wabash Trace Trail or fishing in my kayak.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
My biggest and most rewarding project in my career was developing an explosive breaching field manual for law enforcement and military. I attended the top three explosive breaching schools in the country. I am the only civilian to have gone through all three of the courses offered. For the project, I ran a test program where I built explosive charges and blew holes in walls and got to film it with high speed cameras. I was even in an episode of Master of Disaster on National Geographic which focused on our company’s blast research.
Who inspires you?
My girlfriend, Molly Connolly.
What is your favorite quote?
“Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” Hunter S. Thompson
What local nonprofit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
I served as a co-chair of the Mentor Committee during initial chapter development of the ACE Mentor Program, and I have served as a mentor for all four years. The mission is to engage, excite, and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in architecture, engineering, and construction through mentoring and to support their continued advancement in the industry.
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