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John Cooney


Associate, Bozeman

Linked In

Structural engineering is like playing with Tinker Toys or Lincoln Logs for grown-ups. You get to visualize how all the parts and pieces will fit together and then watch it come to life during construction. I’ve loved playing with blocks with my kids and watching them figure out what works and what doesn’t work, what is stable and what isn’t stable. It’s like watching the design development process on a small scale.”

John has spent his entire career with the firm’s Bozeman office, where he was also the first new hire. Since then, this technical problem-solver has provided design services for all types of projects, ranging from small single-family homes to large commercial and institutional projects. John prioritizes understanding all aspects of materials and their applications, and uses his expertise to help guide others just starting out in the field.

He cultivated his career at Montana State University where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s in Civil Engineering. Today, you can find him studying “the matrix,” as his wife calls it, of every new building he walks into, mentally piecing together its framework. This natural curiosity for understanding how things work and fit is part of John’s passion that’s applied daily to his work here at DCI.

If you weren’t an engineer, what would you be?
A doctor. I worked as an EMT on an ambulance while going to college to become an engineer. I was trying to work out which path I liked better. In the end, engineering won.

What is your favorite piece of historical architecture?
Machu Picchu and the whole Inca Trail. The location high in the Andes is stunning and the stonework is incredible. I’m fascinated by the timescale involved in the construction of many ancient and historical structures like Machu Picchu, the Pyramids, or the cathedrals of Europe. Many took hundreds of years to complete - compare that to the schedules for our projects today!

What would you name an engineering superhero?
There’s already an engineering superhero – Iron Man! His only superpower is his engineering skills. I wonder if he’s a member of his local ironworkers union…?

Favorite projects

Yellowstone Hall - Montana State University_20160816 200826 web

Yellowstone Hall - Montana State University

Montana State University Hyalite Hall_LS20200825 msuhyalitehall 01420 WEB

Montana State University Hyalite Hall

AC Marriott Bozeman

AC Marriott Bozeman