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Home / 2020 Rising Young Professionals & Icons of Construction / GRAEF’s Parker finds the right solution for every vision

GRAEF’s Parker finds the right solution for every vision

Joe Parker -  GRAEF

Joe Parker –

Joe Parker does not like to say “no” to a client.

When he was young, he was captivated by images of dams and bridges he saw on TV. Now working as a structural engineer, he enjoys the challenge of making a vision come to life.

“Even if it’s harder for me, I like to find that solution because in the end it’s going to be a better project,” Parker said. “I never want the structure to get in the way of a vision, so if I don’t know the answer right away, I try to stay curious and open minded and find a solution that will work.”

In the seven years that Parker has been with GRAEF he has worked on notable projects like the Milwaukee Bucks Training Center, Augustine Prep, Marquette’s Commons and the Milwaukee School of Engineering Computational Science Hall, which has classrooms and laboratories situated above an auditorium that’s above a parking garage.

Parker said one of his favorite projects is one of his most recent. He served as the project structural engineer for the Brown County Exposition Center. The center stands near Lambeau Field and has large balconies, roof overhangs and 280-foot trusses.

“Working on buildings the scale of these projects are big and can seem insurmountable at first,” Parker said, “but you just break everything down. It’s problem-solving and you get to the end and there’s a reason for everything.”

Parker’s involvement in GRAEF’s cutting-edge detailing and fabrication method known as GRAEFaccelerate places him at the forefront of young engineers. He said it also enables him to look at a job from different angles and has strengthened his understanding of the practice.

“Joe is a thoughtful and creative professional,” said Mike Vogel, GRAEF principal. “He brings a curiosity to design that helps him integrate the structure into creative forms to realize the ultimate vision and aesthetic of the project.”

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