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Jim Herbert

Vice President, Senior Civil Engineer

Onsite at the fast-track storm-sewer realignment
Skiing on Lower Cirque in Snowbird, Utah
With colleagues Iván Contreras (left) and Joe Welna (middle) during a tunnel inspection
Growing up, Jim Herbert always enjoyed math and science over other subjects in school. That led to an interest in engineering and eventually to a civil engineering bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota.

“I began my career with an emphasis on structural projects,” said Jim, “and then transitioned to water resources and large civil projects.”

Among those was an emergency repair project at the Rapidan Dam in Blue Earth County, Minnesota, that began when the county discovered that portions of the structure’s foundation were missing. Worse still, further study by Barr revealed that most of the 200-foot-long spillway was undermined. A scour hole under the buttresses was more than 18 feet deep and extended more than 30 feet upstream.

“A stability analysis confirmed that the dam was precariously close to complete failure,” said Jim. “Barr determined the likely cause and identified options, but it took an emergency funding request from the Governor and help from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement an emergency fix in three months.”

Equally challenging was a fast-track realignment of a 100-year-old storm sewer for the Capitol Region Watershed District to make way for new highway interchange bridges near downtown St. Paul, Minnesota.

“It took months of planning with government agencies, BNSF Railway, and investigative contractors,” said Jim. “We received permission to shut down two mainline railroad tracks—a rare event in the railroad industry—over the storm sewer. We pulled it off within a 30-hour window.”

Jim’s free time can seem just as hurried with his five kids’ many activities: hockey, soccer, baseball, dance, snowboarding, cheerleading, and music.

“Their activities really dictate my non-work hours,” said Jim. “When I’m not shuttling them to activities or coaching hockey during the winter, we like to sled down Power Hill in Chanhassen and build snow forts.”

Even though Jim went to college on a football scholarship, he can be found playing hockey most Tuesday nights, and he loves to watch college hockey, especially games between the University of North Dakota and University of Minnesota.

“Although a lifelong Gopher fan, I always cheer for UND in the classic border battles,” said Jim.

And like many lifelong Minnesotans, he likes to head “up north” to the family cabin.

“The best way for me to relax is to remove myself from the work whirlwind,” said Jim.