SCE News

Alumni Q+A: Thomas Kimes

Thomas Kimes
Senior Stormwater Engineer, Water Services Department, City of Kansas City, Missouri
Class of 1987
Current City: Kansas City, MO Hometown: Kansas City, MO

Tell me about an average day at your job.

My work is highly varied. Sometimes I am a designer and sometimes I am leading a project team. I may be visiting sites to formulate projects or visiting a construction project to evaluate progress. Occasionally, I travel to Washington, D.C. to advocate for water resources infrastructure.

How did UMKC prepare you for your career?

One of the greatest benefits of attending UMKC was the opportunity to interact with people who were already working in the field. Whether it be my fellow students or my instructors, they typically could give examples or share experiences they had on actual projects. It prepared me to understand the reality of the profession I would be entering.

What project have you worked on of which you are most proud?

I’ve had the opportunity to work on many of the projects that help shape Kansas City – the Kansas City Streetcar, the Liberty Memorial Museum, Blue River Flood Control, and Brush Creek Flood Control. I’ve been very fortunate.

What drew you to Engineering?

When I was in junior high school, a group of college students did a presentation on engineering. It made a lasting impact.

How did you decide what area you wanted to work in?

My original interest was in environmental engineering. My second job was for the Corps of Engineers, so I developed an interest in waterways.

What societies and groups are you a part of and how do you feel that they have helped you professionally?

I’ve been a member of the Alumni Association for years and I feel it’s important for practitioners to reach out to students.

What do you love about the engineering community in Kansas City?

Being a center for engineering, there is a lot of career opportunities locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. I’ve had the opportunity to work with people who are at the top of their field.

What advice do you have for students entering the field?

Engineering is not a job – it’s a career you build over time. You start with your education, but continue learning and growing for decades. Every day is an opportunity to learn something, to discover something, to develop an idea, and an opportunity to contribute something positive to the world. Your work will directly impact people’s lives. Engineering is a noble profession.