Associate Principal Darren Simpson of the Seattle Civil Department officially announced his retirement after 16 years at the firm. Joining the DCI sailing club 6 years ago renewed his childhood interest in sailing. Last year, he and his wife embarked on a plan to sell their house, replace it with a sailboat, and lead an entirely new lifestyle. After a year of downsizing, the home was put on the market April 30th, and sold in three days. Ready or not, the two of them are making this dream a reality (faster than they ever expected). Darren’s last day in the office is May 15th.
Darren’s sense of adventure for new places started in his childhood days, and continued through his professional career. His father was in the US Marine Corps, so it was common for Darren to move from California to Washington, and then Alaska. While in high school, Darren took vocational classes to satisfy his natural interest in electronics, construction technology, rebuilding engines, and welding. He began his college career in Hawaii, but then transferred to Gonzaga University in Spokane. During summer breaks, Darren made extra money by remodeling houses and finding seasonal construction work. His first engineering job was in Alaska. Following four years of employment, he returned to school, pursuing graduate work at San Jose State University. He ultimately landed in Seattle 30 years ago.
His move to DCI Engineers was driven by the chance to lead the Seattle civil department. He brought his detailed proposal writing experience from his previous firm to establish a DCI style. He also tapped his valuable connection of clients and contractors who were familiar with his work ethic and aptitude for survey drafting and AutoCAD. Darren’s legacy at the firm can be seen from DCI’s high-profile civil engineering projects in Bellevue, such as the Washington Square Residential Tower, SoMa Towers, 989 Elements Apartment Tower, and Brio projects. When comparing his work experience at other engineering firms, he felt at DCI he was part of a bigger operation which required more responsibility and long-term vision.
“The projects at DCI were much larger and involved bigger budgets, especially the ones in Bellevue,” Darren said. “The large-scale jobs were more frequent here too.”
Satisfied with his career accomplishments, Darren is ready for a change of scenery again. He knows he is taking a huge risk by becoming a boat owner and living at marinas. The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t deterred him either. Keep in mind this is a guy who grew up fishing, trapping, and hunting in Sitka, Alaska. “I have all the tools to do this sailing thing and excel at it. I better do it now because I’m not getting any younger!”
Seattle Civil Team’s Next Step
Principal Damon Smith continues to oversee DCI’s entire civil engineering department. Associate Matthew Frisby will lead DCI’s civil department in Seattle. He will continue to work with Darren’s clients and manage projects already in progress. He has valuable knowledge about local jurisdictions and project coordination, plus a practical outlook on balancing workload. Project Manager Jarrett Grant will also continue to oversee many of the department’s projects as he settles into his new surroundings at DCI’s Denver office. The firm recently hired Amanda Lauck as a Project Engineer in Seattle. She has five years of experience and has adapted remarkably well to remote working from home. Matthew, Jarrett, Amanda, and Damon are immediately accessible to you regarding any Seattle civil project questions and future project plans.
About the Author
Rose Bechtold, Communications Specialist | Rose comes from a journalism and technical writing background. She is in her element while in research mode and naturally immerses herself in expert knowledge by interviewing staff members about new subjects. In her spare time, Rose practices plein-air sketching of buildings and random scenes around town.