Working Through COVID-19 Q&A with Midwest Bridge Leader Troy Jessop, PE

In our ‘Working Through COVID-19’ series, you’ll hear a range of GAI professionals offer their takes on the current state of the AEC industry, and their inside views of some of the innovative projects that GAI is bringing to life around the United States. Throughout the current challenges, GAI’s experienced professionals remain at the forefront, delivering innovative solutions to a range of transportation, industrial, municipal, energy, and development clients.

Today, Assistant Director of Engineering for GAI’s Midwest Transportation Business Sector Troy Jessop, PE *discusses some of his impressions of how GAI has adapted to the unprecedented health concerns and other factors affecting today’s world, and how he’s continuing to lead his field in providing the advanced engineering services that GAI’s clients demand.

Q: Please tell us who you are and describe your area of expertise and what you do at GAI.

Troy Jessop: I am Troy Jessop, PE, Assistant Director of Engineering, and I lead the Bridge Team for GAI’s Midwest Transportation Business Sector. I joined the company in January 2018, and I’ve specialized in bridge design with emphasis on specialty concrete structures for more than 30 years now.

Q: Have any of your projects been affected by the pandemic? How have you adjusted?

Troy Jessop: The pandemic has created challenges in terms of requiring additional methods of communication and strategies for delivering projects—and overall, the team has responded and adapted well. The 3-year to senior-level staff have delivered without a hitch—and in some instances, staff have become even more efficient. Our biggest challenge during COVID-19 has been mentoring new and younger staff members, a process that naturally benefits from more face-to-face interaction.

Q: How has the pandemic changed the way GAI and your group operate?

Troy Jessop: There has been the need to adopt more flexibility in base work hours to accommodate current special considerations, such as staff needing time to care for children who are home and attending school virtually. We’ve been successful at finding a balance and identifying appropriate core hours during which staff could make themselves available so appropriate team communications could take place.

We’ve been successful at finding a balance and identifying appropriate core hours during which staff could make themselves available so appropriate team communications could take place.

Q: What are you working on right now that you’re excited about?

Troy Jessop: We have had over 20 projects in construction this year. The project construction phase is when what we do at GAI really sinks in with the project teams—it really reaffirms why we have been working so hard, often years in advance, during the design phases. It is very rewarding to see staff observing the key construction activities and celebrating their successful projects.

bridge construction

Q: Have you taken up any new hobbies during the pandemic?

Troy Jessop: I have the same hobbies, but I have had more time to focus on them as a lot of entertainment choices like concerts, movies, and sports have been limited for us in 2020. Now, I play my guitar more and have participated in a 5k virtual run every month this year to keep the stress down (as well as helping control COVID-19 weight gain from working at home near the kitchen 🙁).

Q: Do you have any predictions on how the AEC industry will move forward?

Troy Jessop: I expect the successful firms will embrace some practices that could be perceived as a benefit for current and potential future staff. I would envision staff having the ability to schedule working a certain percentage of days at home and a certain percentage in the office. This allows team communication, but also allows staff to have focused days to get their work completed. The key is consistency so the schedules are not constantly changing—then I think this type of scheduling could really work long term and offer a huge benefit to employees while reducing office space costs and overhead.

Q: Tell us about the DPW 16th Street over White River bridge project.

Troy Jessop: We are excited to be providing the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) with the scoping and design services for the rehabilitation of the 16th Street over White River bridge. The existing structure is a heavily traveled multi-span historic concrete arch bridge under earth fill. The project is scheduled for construction in 2023, and is one of the DPW’s top projects.

We are currently nearing the completion of the Historic Document Alternatives Analysis Report where we’ll identify the appropriate rehabilitation solution for the bridge. Next year we’ll begin the final design of the project which is estimated to have a cost range of $6.5 to $8 million to rehabilitate.

All told, the GAI Midwest Transportation Team is providing road and bridge design, hydraulics, environmental, permitting, and utility coordination services for this project. In addition, the  Structures Business Sector directed by Ben Allis has provided assistance for the development of the structural repair costs and methods of construction.

Keep an eye on the GAI website for more experiences, thoughts, and perspectives on working through COVID-19 from professionals around our company. Contact Troy Jessop, PE, 317.436.4854, for information about GAI’s bridge and other transportation structures services. Message GAI online and start the conversation about how our multidiscipline professionals can meet your unique project needs. 

Troy Jessop, PE has extensive experience in the design, construction engineering, and management of bridge projects for state departments of transportation, local transportation authorities, and the Federal Aviation Authority. Since joining GAI in 2018, Troy has managed over 80 County and Indiana Department of Transportation projects, ranging from deck overlays and superstructure replacements to full bridge replacements.

*Troy Jessop is a licensed Professional Engineer in the states of Indiana, Florida, and Ohio.
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