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Kurt Leuthold

Vice President, Senior Civil Engineer

Skiing in the Dolomite Mountains in northeastern Italy
In Colfosco, Italy

Kurt Leuthold’s eighth-grade career preference test identified two careers he might enjoy:  engineer and clockmaker. Given his predilection for assembling models, erector sets, and Legos, engineering was an obvious front runner. It helped that he was also good at math and science.

After high school, Kurt enrolled at Michigan Technological University as an “undeclared engineering” major to explore which engineering discipline was the best fit for him.

“I had a mind more for the physical and liked to be outside so I chose civil engineering,” said Kurt.

He joined Barr after graduating and has seen his career progress from traditional commercial and residential development to nontraditional stormwater management and designing for low-impact development.

“I switched gears when Fred Rozumalski was hired as a landscape architect doing nontraditional stormwater management,” said Kurt. “People told us it wasn’t technically feasible or even possible to mimic native hydrology using infiltration, but we are fortunate to have clients who are willing to experiment and try new things.”

It’s work that requires the collaboration of multiple disciplines to succeed, and Kurt continues to hone and expand his skills and techniques. Recently, he and Fred teamed up with a local artist to create a rooftop bog at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

“To my knowledge, it’s never been done before—creating a ‘wet’ green roof,” said Kurt. “That was a large part of the project’s appeal. It was a new concept and a challenge. It really required us to think outside the box. What we learned will be useful on future projects.”

Looking forward, he hopes to work on more projects that blend art, architecture, ecology, engineering, and science to improve water quality.

“It’s satisfying creating spaces that people enjoy and showing how plants can be used to solve some urban water problems,” said Kurt.

And he brings that knowledge home with him. Literally. Kurt has incorporated rainwater gardens into his yard, collects rainwater in rain barrels, and directs roof runoff to advantageous locations.

“I’ve also been known to run outside in a downpour—and not always with an umbrella,” laughs Kurt, “to see stormwater systems in action to learn how they really function.”