Business

Best Under 40: Mark Phipps

Civil Engineer at Baxter and Woodman

BIOGRAPHY

Age: 39

Occupation: Civil Engineer at Baxter and Woodman

Current residence: Woodstock

Hometown: South Bend, Indiana.

Family: Wife, Mandy Phipps; twin 8-year-old daughters Anna and Sarah

Education: Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Purdue University

What was your first job? I had a few internships while I was in college, but my first real job was with Hawkins Environmental, a small engineering firm in Lafayette, Indiana. I was hired at 22 years old as an entry-level project engineer. My responsibilities included performing calculations and drafting construction plans for subdivisions and municipal infrastructure.

Favorite non-work related hobby? Softball

Favorite book? The Bible

What's one word that best describes you? Conscientious

PROFILE QUESTIONS

What is your job and how have you found success with it?

I’m a consultant to cities and counties in the Chicago area. I help them manage stormwater runoff. Since local government budgets are being stretched farther all the time, it’s critical to find other sources of funding. Since 2011, I’ve helped clients secure over $10 million in grants for floodplain and stormwater management projects. Beyond that, I just try to avoid unnecessary complexity. Simple solutions are better than complicated solutions.

How did you first get involved with your current job? Why have you kept doing it?

My wife is from Crystal Lake, and we moved to the Chicago area to be close to her family. I applied for the job when I saw an opening advertised. I actually left Baxter & Woodman in 2008 to work for McHenry County as the county’s Chief Stormwater Engineer. I came back to Baxter & Woodman in 2010, when I was given the opportunity to manage the department that I had previously worked. The opportunity, and pay raise that came with it, came at a good time for my family because my twin daughters were young and my wife was staying home to raise them. The reason I keep doing it, though, is I like the challenge of solving problems that improve the places we live.

What's a recent accomplishment and innovation that you are most proud of? Why?

Last December, McHenry County adopted a completely revised Stormwater Management Ordinance. I was the principal author, and I’m proud of the ordinance because I know how much it was needed, having been the county’s enforcement officer under the previous version. I’m also proud of it because we completed the project on time, despite a very aggressive schedule. It also won an award from the Illinois Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management. That project was special to me because it’s not often you get to work professionally on a project for your community and with friends that happened to be former co-workers.

How do you give back to the community or your profession? What drives you to volunteerism?

I enjoy volunteering when I can share what I’ve learned in an area I’m passionate about and in a way that will benefit others. Most of my volunteer work is through my church, Willow Creek Huntley. I’m a Sunday School teacher because I enjoy teaching children what the Bible says. I’m a coach on the church softball team because I played baseball as a kid and being part of the team helps people become part of the church community.

What is the best career advice you have received?

Clients don’t expect you to be perfect, but if you make a mistake, they expect you to fix it. (Thanks Mike Renner!)

Do you consider yourself one of the county's Best Under 40? Why or why not?

I do the best I can at whatever I’m doing. I’ll leave the comparison to others.

BIOGRAPHY

Age: 39

Occupation: Civil Engineer at Baxter and Woodman

Current residence: Woodstock

Hometown: South Bend, Indiana.

Family: Wife, Mandy Phipps; twin 8-year-old daughters Anna and Sarah

Education: Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Purdue University

What was your first job? I had a few internships while I was in college, but my first real job was with Hawkins Environmental, a small engineering firm in Lafayette, Indiana. I was hired at 22 years old as an entry-level project engineer. My responsibilities included performing calculations and drafting construction plans for subdivisions and municipal infrastructure.

Favorite non-work related hobby? Softball

Favorite book? The Bible

What's one word that best describes you? Conscientious

PROFILE QUESTIONS

What is your job and how have you found success with it?

I’m a consultant to cities and counties in the Chicago area. I help them manage stormwater runoff. Since local government budgets are being stretched farther all the time, it’s critical to find other sources of funding. Since 2011, I’ve helped clients secure over $10 million in grants for floodplain and stormwater management projects. Beyond that, I just try to avoid unnecessary complexity. Simple solutions are better than complicated solutions.

How did you first get involved with your current job? Why have you kept doing it?

My wife is from Crystal Lake, and we moved to the Chicago area to be close to her family. I applied for the job when I saw an opening advertised. I actually left Baxter & Woodman in 2008 to work for McHenry County as the county’s Chief Stormwater Engineer. I came back to Baxter & Woodman in 2010, when I was given the opportunity to manage the department that I had previously worked. The opportunity, and pay raise that came with it, came at a good time for my family because my twin daughters were young and my wife was staying home to raise them. The reason I keep doing it, though, is I like the challenge of solving problems that improve the places we live.

What's a recent accomplishment and innovation that you are most proud of? Why?

Last December, McHenry County adopted a completely revised Stormwater Management Ordinance. I was the principal author, and I’m proud of the ordinance because I know how much it was needed, having been the county’s enforcement officer under the previous version. I’m also proud of it because we completed the project on time, despite a very aggressive schedule. It also won an award from the Illinois Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management. That project was special to me because it’s not often you get to work professionally on a project for your community and with friends that happened to be former co-workers.

How do you give back to the community or your profession? What drives you to volunteerism?

I enjoy volunteering when I can share what I’ve learned in an area I’m passionate about and in a way that will benefit others. Most of my volunteer work is through my church, Willow Creek Huntley. I’m a Sunday School teacher because I enjoy teaching children what the Bible says. I’m a coach on the church softball team because I played baseball as a kid and being part of the team helps people become part of the church community.

What is the best career advice you have received?

Clients don’t expect you to be perfect, but if you make a mistake, they expect you to fix it. (Thanks Mike Renner!)

Do you consider yourself one of the county's Best Under 40? Why or why not?

I do the best I can at whatever I’m doing. I’ll leave the comparison to others.

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