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Bill Forsmark

Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer

Bill with his daughers at a Minnesota Gophers hockey game
Bill speaks with a client at a dam
Site inspections are some of Bill's favorite projects
In high school, Bill Forsmark was interested in both architecture and civil engineering, but wasn’t sure which would be the best fit for him—especially since math was his most challenging subject.

“After taking some high school drafting classes, I thought engineering required more creativity and problem solving than architecture, and that appealed to me,” he says. “I also saw more career opportunities in engineering.”

At 16, he began working part-time at Barr, which he continued to do while attending the University of Minnesota, where he studied engineering as it related to structures and water resources.

“I learned that Barr’s work culture really focuses on developing people’s skills,” Bill says. “To the people here, it’s more than just being able to pay the bills. They genuinely enjoy the work and the people they work with. I feel privileged and humbled to work with some really smart people.”

One aspect of engineering he particularly enjoys is figuring out how to work with nature, which can be unforgiving to engineered structures—especially those at the mercy of water’s destructive force, like dams and flood-control structures.

“It’s like doing a puzzle where you’re trying to arrange all the technical pieces and the various engineering disciplines so they work together seamlessly,” says Bill. “Then you add working with people and clients. Sometimes the engineering solution you think is the best option isn’t the one a client or the public wants, and you have to navigate that to find a workable solution.”

Getting out in the field to see project sites firsthand also appeals to him. "I didn’t want to sit in an office all day. I wanted to be onsite when work was happening. I’ve gotten to take aerial photos from a National Guard helicopter for a project in North Dakota. For another project, I spent half a day riding ATVs on a site. How many jobs let you do that?”

Still, Bill admits that sometimes it’s hard to turn the job off. With four kids, he needs to carve out quality family time.

“It’s tough when you put in long hours, but family grounds you,” he says. “I plan for time to spend with my family—whether it’s skiing, going to a movie, heading to the cabin for a long weekend, or going to a Gophers hockey game.”