#Eweek2023 Spotlight | Adam Schlegel

Melding civil and land development.

For National Engineers Week 2023, we’re sharing stories from Cushing Terrell’s engineering talent to learn more about how they chose their profession and what makes them tick. 

What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?

My area of expertise within the expansive civil engineering discipline is land development. It took me several years of dabbling in other engineering fields, such as structural and environmental, before I found my calling. I find joy in tackling the unique challenges of every project and piece of land and working with different entities and jurisdictions to find solutions. An engineer in land development is often involved in a project from inception (site selection) to completion (construction punch list), which is very rewarding.

What a typical project site looks like for a land development civil engineer.

What is one of your favorite projects and why?

One of my favorite projects was for a non-profit client who secured a grant to fund the expansion of a youth soccer and baseball field complex. I enjoyed working for this client and helping them further their mission of keeping kids active in sports. The project was located on state-owned, leased property, which was an interesting permitting experience to navigate. It was my first project working closely with the city parks and recreation department who agreed to take ownership of the maintenance of the facility.

Tell us about one of your recent projects.

In late 2022, we celebrated the groundbreaking of the LPCWest Sky Ranch Logistics Center in Caldwell, Idaho. The Logistics Center is part of the larger Sky Ranch business park, which is planned for mixed-use, leasing opportunities for industrial buildings ideal for warehousing and distribution, light manufacturing, food processing, and aviation/aerospace tenants. It is located along I-84, which connects Portland, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; and Salt Lake City, Utah. The Logistics Center is approximately 400,000 square feet of warehouse and distribution center space for both incoming and growing businesses.

The project was designed completely in house with Cushing Terrell team members from Boise and Caldwell, Idaho; Bozeman, Montana; and Denver, Colorado. I felt honored to have been awarded the project and to serve as the project’s lead civil engineer and project manager.

Cushing Terrell team members, including Adam (far right), joined Lincoln Property Company West and construction partner McAlvain Companies for the groundbreaking of the Sky Ranch Logistics Center.

What is the most interesting/strange thing someone has asked you to ‘engineer’?

I was asked to engineer a series of duck ponds on a piece of private property. The individual has a passion for ducks and wanted them to feel at home in his backyard. The project itself was not necessarily all that strange, but fulfilling the purpose and dreams of the client was unique to say the least.

What can you not help but engineer in your life?

I’m forever calculating (then testing via trial and error) the most efficient routes from one destination to the next. Everything from road trip adventures, to daily commutes to/from work, to walks throughout the neighborhood. There’s a forever-growing list of variables that play into it such as the time of day, weather conditions, road conditions, type of vehicle, number and type of passengers, fuel level, etc. I’ve not yet developed an equation to calculate this, and Siri is almost always incorrect.

What piece of advice would you give a young person interested in becoming an engineer?

Don’t feel rushed to settle on a specific field right away. Exploring the possibilities is a crucial chapter and it’s important not to become “stuck” in a field that’s not as satisfying for you. Develop a list of things you’re passionate about and then begin building a roadmap to how you can make a living fulfilling those passions and serving others. The paths you come up with may surprise you.

What are your defining characteristics as a person?

I’m very much a stereotypical engineer. Almost anywhere I go, I’m evaluating land improvements, drainage, and curbs… That’s right, curbs. I find joy in determining responsible, beneficial ways to develop or re-develop land. I will make an Excel spreadsheet for just about anything, and for almost no reason at all. Aside from that, I’m a proud husband and father, and I love camping.

Adam at a Glance

  • Civil Engineer with Land Development expertise
  • Living in Bozeman, Montana
  • Defining characteristics: Stereotypical engineer; loves spreadsheets, calculating things, and solving problems
  • Interests: Family, camping, land improvements, drainage, and curbs!

Read about the other engineers we’ll be highlighting for National Engineers Week 2023!