Staff Spotlight: Phil Niekamp

Get to know one of our newest structural engineers, Phil.

1. Why you chose Schaefer.

As an entry level engineer, I chose Schaefer because of the opportunity to work with an experienced and accomplished group of structural engineers in a fun and encouraging work environment.

2. Where did you go to school?

I received both my Master and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with a structural focus from the University of Cincinnati (2008-2015). GO BEARCATS!

3. Why you chose to be a structural engineer.

My path to structural engineering started first when I played with legos as a child; it’s where I developed a passion for creating. During the same time, I was fortunate enough to live in Tokyo, Japan for two years where an appreciation for buildings and bridges developed. Because math and science came naturally to me, I chose civil engineering as my declared major when I applied at UC. The co-op program at UC focused my interests into structural engineering. I pursued a career in structural engineering after graduation because I get a lot of satisfaction in knowing that what I do as a structural engineer matters and makes the world a better place.

4. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

My biggest inspiration is my family. About fifteen years ago, my dad was diagnosed with MS – this had a huge impact on my family. We became a much stronger family through these trials, and I have learned so many things from my family as they continue to challenge and inspire me.

5. What’s your greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment thus far would be graduating with my Master’s degree. A lot of hard work and perseverance went into completing this milestone.

6. Meet my family.

Including myself there are four people in my family: Rick, my dad; Sue, my mom; and Jackie, my sister. My mom and dad both grew up in New Bremen. My dad is a Mechanical Engineer at Honda, my mom is an Industrial Engineer at Crown Equipment Corporation, and my sister, also a recent University of Cincinnati graduate, is a Biomedical Engineer at Boston Scientific.

7. If I wasn’t a structural engineer I would be…

If I wasn’t a structural engineer I would have pursued a career in music. I have always enjoyed playing and creating music. I have learned to play the piano, saxophone, guitar, and I sing.

8. Favorite thing to do off the clock.

I enjoy being outside! I also enjoy working out and am currently training for a half marathon. In the summer, I like to hang out around water swimming, boating, fishing, etc. In the winter, I like to go skiing and snowboarding.

9. If you could design a structure anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I truly enjoy being around the ocean, so I would jump at the opportunity to build in a coastal environment.

10. Why you chose to work/live in Cincinnati.

I chose to work and live in Cincinnati because this city is my home away from home after having lived here during my studies at UC. Cincinnati is still new to me though; I haven’t scratched the surface at all the fun and exciting things to do in the area.


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