Q&A with Tim Kemp, Assistant Director for Engineering and Capital Construction

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Outdoor portrait of Tim Kemp
Tim Kemp, Assistant Director for Engineering and Capital Construction. Photo courtesy of Tim Kemp

Tim Kemp, assistant director for engineering and capital construction, is working towards becoming a two-time Colorado State University alum.

He earned his bachelor’s in civil engineering here and is currently half way through his master’s in systems engineering.

Kemp grew up in Michigan and found his way to Fort Collins in 1997. He calls Fort Collins home alongside his wife Emily and two children, Maya and Quinton.

Where did you go to school for your previous degree(s)?

I have an Associate’s Degree in Architectural Design and Drafting from Intellitec College (Colorado Springs, 1996).

I moved to Fort Collins in 1997 and worked as an AutoCAD Drafter while I put myself through school at CSU.

What degree are you working on? 

I’m an MS Systems Engineering candidate. I’m not quite halfway through the program, so I do not have a research focus yet. My interests are in Transportation Systems and Renewable Energy Systems, two areas that I have work experience with.

What drew you to study systems engineering?

Legos? From a young age I had a passion for designing and building.

With over 20 years of industry experience, I wanted a program that would add to my experience and teach me new skills related to life-cycle analysis and process improvement.

I’m a firm believer that process and people drive results. I work with a great team in my current job, and my Systems Engineering training is helping me realize process and operational efficiencies.

What has your experience been working at CSU & being a graduate student?

Prior to coming to CSU, I worked in consulting and municipal government. In my current role, Assistant Director for Engineering and Capital Construction, I lead a team of Professional Engineers, Project Managers, and support staff.

We are responsible for design, construction, operations, and maintenance of buildings, energy systems, wet utility systems, and transportation systems.

Graduate school is a lot of work; on top of working full time and having a family. I’m a life-long learner, so I am enjoying the technical aspects of the Systems Engineering program.  My Professors and fellow students have been amazing, supportive, and engaging.

How do you implement systems-thinking in your life/job?

I focus on the process when considering issues, looking at the whole product life cycle. I’m driven by the need to meet requirements, measure outcomes, and solve problems.

At work, this consists of evaluating and improving our campus district energy system, and at home it’s “how do I design and build a treehouse which meets the requirements of my children?”.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working/in class?

I like being outside and doing something physical. I enjoy hiking and paddle boarding with my family, home improvement projects, and landscaping.

My wife is a volunteer for the local Rhodesian Ridgeback society. So we always have a Ridgeback or two in the house which keeps things interesting!

Who inspires you?

First and foremost, I’m inspired by my family. I work hard to make the world a better place for them. 

I’m also inspired by my team at work. We are a group of subject matter experts, and it’s rewarding when we collaborate to find solutions to complex problems with limited fiscal resources.

What’s a fun fact about you people may not know?

I’m a year-round bike commuter. My wife and I went down to one family vehicle about 8 years ago, and I’ve been commuting by bike ever since. One of the perks of living in a Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community like Fort Collins!

Anything else you want to share!

My favorite author is Jules Verne. I’ve read most of his books, and many of them multiple times.

I love how he weaved his STEM knowledge into the storytelling, realizing that most of his works were written in the 1860’s and 1870’s.  My favorite book is The Mysterious Island.