Walker Headlights: Jeff Smallidge, PE, LEED AP BD+C
Since joining Walker in 2001 as a design engineer in the company’s Boston office, Jeff has undertaken many roles for the firm, including lead structural engineer, project manager and currently Director of Business Development for the Indianapolis office. Jeff is also Director of Sustainability for Walker. In his spare time, he enjoys being with his wife and three kids, as well as cooking, brewing beer and hiking.
Check out more of his story in this month’s Walker Headlights!
Q: Jeff, you are a Jack-of-all-trades doing business development and also being an engineer. How do you think that helps you in your current position?
A: Developing solid relationships is one of the most important aspects to a successful business development program. My experience as an engineer, and as someone who lived the technical side of our business for so long, helps me relate to the challenges our clients may be facing. This helps tremendously with building trust and relationships. A successful business development program also requires a team effort and the folks in Walker’s Indianapolis office are exceptional professionals who do great work.
Q: You’ve worked for Walker for 12 years in different capacities. Can you tell us about the progression of your time with Walker and how you got into the role you’re in now?
A: Walker is a great company to be a part of for many reasons. One of the best things I love about working for Walker is that the company provides an atmosphere where your career can flourish the way you want it to. If you have an interest or a passion for doing something different or for a certain role, chances are, there will be an opportunity for you to explore it.
Q: In addition to your various roles at Walker, you’ve also worked for several offices and lived in numerous cities and states – tell us about your journey! Also, which is your favorite place?
A: Being born and raised in the Boston area, I’ll always have a special affinity for Beantown. Patriots, Red Sox and not pronouncing my “r’s” are hard habits to break.
Q: You are also the Director of Sustainability at Walker, what does that really mean? Tell us more about the Walker’s Sustainability Committee?
A: As Walker’s Director of Sustainability, I have the privilege of championing and promoting the firm’s sustainable initiatives. As part of this effort, I also chair Walker’s Sustainability Committee. The committee is comprised of many people with diverse skills, all working together to advance Walker’s sustainability initiatives. We are always looking for more passionate employees to join the committee and for fresh ideas, so please contact me to learn more.
Q: Many people don’t understand how parking can be sustainable. Tell us about some new trends in the world of sustainability.
A: Technology will continue to re-shape how we approach parking and transportation and will also have a tremendous impact on sustainability. Technological innovation is transforming the parking industry, resulting in parking systems that are more user friendly, more efficient, and more sustainable than ever before. Each aspect of the parking process has been improved by technology, including how we plan and design structured parking, to how garage facilities are operated and maintained, to how users are finding available parking. One example is how some owners are utilizing automated parking guidance systems (APGS) to reduce the amount of time it takes for their customers to find available parking. This improves the overall parking experience of the user and, at the same time, reduces the amount of carbon emissions from the vehicle.
Q: Adding to the previous question, we know you have been involved with the Green Parking Council (GPC). Recently, the GPC joined the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and its innovative Green Garage Certification program has been rebranded to “Parksmart”. The USGBC is administering the Parksmart program moving forward. Can you expand on this and your experience with the GPC?
A: The Green Garage Certification, before it became Parksmart, was “the world’s only rating system that defines, measures and recognizes high-performing, sustainable garages”. Now, the Parksmart program leads this charge, by advancing sustainable mobility through smarter parking structure design and operation. I was one of the first people in the industry to become a Parksmart Advisor back in 2014. A Parksmart Advisor is one who is trained to lead clients through the certification process.
Q: Tell us about your family?
A: I’ve been married to my wife Denise for many years and she is definitely my rock. We have three children; Kayleigh, Liam and Connor. Kayleigh is 11 going on 18 and loves soccer and art. Liam is 10 and enjoys cooking and playing football. He’s been known to braise a chicken from time to time and help with preparing dinner often. Many people think he looks exactly like me (sorry kid). And Connor is our youngest at 7 years old. He is following in his dad’s footsteps by being an avid Star Wars fan. The force is definitely strong with this one.
Q: You are certainly a busy man! What are your favorite activities/hobbies outside the office? What do you do to relax?
A: When you combine traveling frequently for work, three children with active social and sports schedules, and just the normal goings-on of life, spare time is almost non-existent. But, on that rare occasion when I find myself free-and-clear, I enjoy home brewing beer and cooking unique dishes alongside my wife. Although, her dishes usually end up better tasting then mine.
Thank you, Jeff!
If you’d like to get in touch with Jeff, you can reach him here.