Life works out for engineer
By DEREK MAUL
He didn’t have a job, just a destination.
“It was 1985, and we just packed up and moved,” he said. “We weren’t quite 30, and it was reckless, but it worked out.”
It was a decision he made with some years of wisdom.
Weddle went to work as a mine engineer right out of college. But new laws were changing the industry.
“In 1978, federal
regulations said we had to put the land back after we stripped it,” he said. “I
came up with the comprehensive plan, Amax liked it, and they put me in
charge. They made me superintendent of
the whole operation at
“Eventually, strip mining became impractical, and I supervised the shutdown process,” he said. “We cleaned the place up and completed land reclamation. There’s a residential development there now.”
The couple moved from
The relocation to the
“The work was fascinating fun,” he said. “Hard and fast. We were responsible for all the infrastructure, including a dam, bridges and the golf course – 1,300 acres in all. Almost a billion dollars spent in three years.”
He returned to
“We do the design and permitting for land development sites,” he said.
“Our work addresses the
infrastructure below the building, the site entrances, parking lots, sewers and
storm drainage. John is senior computer
aided drafting designer, and his wife, Barbara, is office manager. We’ve known each other since I moved to
“When you have your own firm, you can nurture the relationships,” he said.
Weddle is especially
proud of his involvement with Rosemary Beach, a 400-home planned township west
“It’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s an unusual project, kind of ahead of its time with features such as pervious concrete roadways.
“I’ve gotten where I like to do these projects without tearing the land up.” Weddle said. “We like to do ones where we get a chance to work with the land instead of against it.”
Weddle also has been
involved with the
Planning, he said, is
critical when facing the challenges of
“If you could start
“Sprawl is a bad thing,” he said. “It’s haphazard, and it doesn’t work well for sustainable living. You can’t go anywhere by bike or walking. People shouldn’t have to get in their car to go to the grocery store. The way we live is just a little bit silly.”
“My whole family is into exercise, “ I like to fish and dive and mountain bike and kayak, and we belong to the Campo Y. This community fits how we like to live.
“The older I get, the more I learn how to enjoy simpler things,” he said. “We’re about making a comfortable living, taking good care of our clients, not getting greedy and enjoying our work. Before the economy turned, we could have had 30 to 40 people on board. But we stayed small on purpose and controlled our environment. We’re glad we did.”
MEET CHRIS WEDDLE
Professional engineer, president, Aurora Civil Engineering, Inc.
Education: Terra Haute
Higher Education: Bachelor of science, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terra Haute, 1977
Married: Susan Smith, 1985
Children: Travis, 19; Riley 15
Notable Quote: “Engineers should never be bored. I’ve always had interesting work.”
Derek Maul can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org