employees, families and friends participate in Duluth’s dragon boat race each summer

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Jim Langseth

Vice President, Senior Civil Engineer

Jim Langseth (right) with wife Thea and son Abe

Early in his career, Jim Langseth thought about combining interests in civil engineering and international relations through a job in the U.S. Foreign Service.  He passed the written tests, but the oral interview?  “What they were looking for is charming people who would be good at parties,” said Jim. ”That wasn’t my forte.”

Problem solving is Jim’s forte. Particularly, problems with “stuff that’s flowing.” His undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and master’s degree from Stanford both focused on water resources engineering. Thirty years later, he has entered into a different kind of foreign service: solving problems for clients working with Canada’s oil sands.

Jim helped open Barr’s office in Calgary, Alberta, in 2010. A big part of his job has been partnering with Netherlands-based Deltares Engineering to provide tailings management expertise to clients in the oil sands industry. “Nobody knows how to successfully manage these tailings,” he said. “They need to get something that’s the consistency of yogurt to be strong enough so you can plant a forest on it.”

Jim’s working on it. And when he’s not solving engineering problems, he likes to be outdoors—walking, biking, and canoeing with his wife. He also plays a mean game of ping pong, so if the Alberta winters force him indoors, he'll be ready.

"I've already looked online for table tennis clubs," he says.