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Mark Ziemer

Senior Electrical Engineer

Mark hiking in the Colorado Rockies
Mark in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area
When Mark Ziemer was in middle school, his family visited the Hoover Dam, where he saw a demonstration showing how the generators produced electrical power. 

“That really piqued my interest,” said Mark. “My father was an electrical engineering professor, but until then, I was actually more interested in art. Artistic talent runs in my family, and painting landscapes connected to my love of the outdoors.”

He nurtured his interest in electrical engineering by building an electric tin-can motor—earning him a scouting merit badge—and a radio from a kit.

When it came time for college, his father encouraged him to pursue engineering instead of art, but Mark combined the two by studying architectural engineering, with an electrical systems design emphasis, at the University of Kansas.

“This program merged art, science, and engineering,” said Mark. “Halfway through, students could stay with architectural engineering, switch to architecture, or do both. It was a great program for someone like me.” 

Mark chose to stay with engineering. After college, he joined a firm where he supported architects in the design of municipal buildings, such as city halls and fire stations, but he didn't want to be “just the architecture guy.”

“Whenever there was an opportunity to learn or branch out, I took it,” said Mark.

That mindset allowed him to gain experience on other municipal projects, like water and wastewater treatment facilities, as well as design street lighting. Now at Barr, Mark works on projects of all sizes for industrial, commercial, retail, and municipal clients. 

“It’s great to work on technically interesting projects, including hydroelectric dam retrofits and rehabilitations,” said Mark. “It’s gratifying to fill a need.”

Mark also enjoys projects where he has to start from scratch. One such project involved a feasibility study for an underground mine.

“We worked with the power utility to make sure it had the capacity to meet the mine’s power requirements,” explained Mark. “Plus, a few hundred acres of land would have to be developed, and we needed to provide a preliminary distribution design.”

Although much of Mark’s time is spoken for, he continues to do watercolor painting and take the occasional art class. He also gets outdoors whenever possible, including taking an annual trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota, which he considers one of the most beautiful places on earth.

And as for working on the Hoover Dam?

“Not yet!” said Mark.