"I am inspired by the opportunities to engage in all these areas, and I am driven by making a positive impact on something so foundational to our daily lives."

Stephanie Hemberger



Iowa State University | Rockhurst University

What's been your most rewarding project(s) while at your firm?

The Johnson County Gateway (I-35/I-435/K-10) Interchange with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), and the I-80/I-380 Interchange with the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT).


The Johnson County Gateway (Phase 2) was a $288M design-build project, completed in 2016 and was both the first major transportation design-build project procured by KDOT and the largest in their history. I had the opportunity to serve as a preliminary design engineer early in the project, and once KDOT selected HNTB to serve as an extension of their staff (a Program Management Consultant, or PMC) to procure and oversee a design-build (engineer/contractor) team, I became Deputy Project Manager for these services. It was an incredible experience working closely with multi-office KDOT staff, from the various design offices to legal, financial, technology, and public involvement, to prepare to successfully deliver this project on an accelerated schedule while minimizing impact to the traveling public, all while using a new procurement method.


The I-80/I-380 Interchange in eastern Iowa – near my hometown – is moving into construction and I was involved in helping the Iowa DOT create a Transportation Management Plan (TMP) and Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Plan ahead of construction. As part of the TMP, our team developed strategies to enhance mobility and safety during construction. As part of the TIM Plan, we met bi-monthly with local law enforcement, fire, and hospitals to plan ahead should an incident ever arise.


These two projects were rewarding as both included providing unique services to our clients and were incredibly multi-disciplinary and multi-agency – something I love about our field. These projects were also different in that they were not traditional design services, and it was great to work so closely with Department of Transportation staff and stakeholders to really try to make a project as successful as it can be.

Most interesting place you've traveled for work?

While many may not think of it as an interesting location, Ames, IA (home of the Iowa State Cyclones!) I often travel there for work with the Iowa DOT and I love being back on my stomping grounds. I primarily focus on clients here in our backyard, or regional within the Midwest – my passion is making an impact close to home. I do love to travel, though, and scoping out transportation systems is often a highlight of each vacation. My most recent interesting transportation experience was in Banff (Alberta, Canada). Their intersections include an entire phase where vehicles stop in all four directions and pedestrians can flood the intersection – crossing diagonally – at the same time.

What inspires you about your profession?

Transportation is a constantly changing field and it touches so many facets – planning, design, and construction across many interrelated disciplines; policy and transportation funding; balancing new infrastructure needs with maintaining what we have; the movement of people and goods, considering all users of our transportation systems – including transit, bicyclists and pedestrians; the impact on our personal and professional lives and our overall quality of life; the ever-changing innovations in transportation technology which might re-imagine the future of our transportation systems. I am inspired by the opportunities to engage in all these areas, and I am driven by making a positive impact on something so foundational to our daily lives.

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