News Flash

City of Minot News Flash

Posted on: August 29, 2022

'What we do isn't random'

Jesse Hoffart at 11th ave broadway2

Jesse Hoffart, PE, has a nice ring to it.

Hoffart, a civil engineer with the City’s Engineering Department, added those letters to his professional credentials in August after passing the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam.

“Yeah, it feels good to see that after my name,” he said. “When you put it at the end of an email, you’re like ‘Yeah, I did it.’ ”

Earning that credential isn’t an easy journey. Hoffart graduated from Minot High School in 2013, and from North Dakota State University with a degree in civil engineering in 2017. He began working for the City of Minot in April 2018.

Engineers must complete several steps to ensure their competency, including:

  • Earn a four-year degree in engineering from an accredited engineering program
  • Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam (FE)
  • Complete four years of progressive engineering experience under a PE
  • Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam (PE)

Hoffart has now accomplished all of those things.

“I took the PE test on Aug. 9, but I started studying in January,” Hoffart said. “It’s an 80-question test that you have eight hours to complete. Passing this test is a very big personal achievement for me, and for any engineer.”

As a PE, Hoffart can now put his stamp of approval on his own design plans without having to submit them to another engineer for review, although the Engineering Department staff works closely together to create and review all design plans.

“I guess it’s just a matter of personal achievement, and it shows that ‘Hey, I know my stuff.’ I’ve learned so much in the past four years at the City, and then I was grateful to have the opportunity to prove what I’ve learned by passing the test,” he said.

Hoffart spends much of his time working on traffic projects, and especially enjoys designing projects that include updating or creating pedestrian ramps that meet handicapped accessible guidelines established by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It’s something I never thought about before I was an engineer,” he said. “But after learning about it and realizing what it means to someone with a physical disability to be able to safely go anywhere in town, this has become one of my favorite things to do.”

Hoffart designed the recently installed accessible pedestrian ramps at the intersection of Broadway and 11th Avenue South. 

“That was probably a good month and a half of work just sitting at that intersection trying to figure out how to make everything work,” he said. “We only have so much space there and there are a lot of different ADA requirements. I had to get really creative to make it work. There was a lot to think about, like trying to design a ramp that can only be so steep on an existing hill. It was a challenge.”

There are plenty of other challenges, too, as the City works on a backlog of projects involving the community’s transportation system, including roads and sidewalks. While the projects for 2022 are winding down, the design work for 2023 projects is just getting started.

“Essentially, we know where we’re going to be working next year, but we haven’t designed it all yet,” Hoffart said. “We’re slowly getting back to having more roads in good shape, but there’s still a backlog. We’re always trying to keep good roads in good condition.”

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes in coordinating with the Public Works Department to determine when and where projects will take place. For instance, if there’s a section of street that needs to be reconstructed, but Public Works is planning to replace the underground water and sewer pipes there, Engineering will wait for that project to be completed before working on the road’s surface.

“We make a huge effort to coordinate with Public Works so we aren’t planning to do work on the surface before they do underground projects,” Hoffart said. “Sometimes that means a road has to wait a year to be resurfaced, but we’re trying to make sure every dollar is utilized to its fullest extent.”

Projects are planned two or three years ahead of time, with the schedule often coordinated with the availability of state or federal funding, including such projects as Safe Routes to School, which constructs sidewalks to improve pedestrian access and walkability around Minot’s schools.

Hoffart said projects are designed to keep Minot’s transportation system in the best shape possible within the department’s budget. That means sometimes projects happen simultaneously in the same area of town; but those decisions are made after lengthy and detailed consultation and planning between Engineering, Public Works, and other entities.

“Some people think we’re out to ruin their day – we’re not. We’re trying to improve our transportation infrastructure as quickly and cost-effectively as possible and then get out of their way,” Hoffart said. “There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, but most people don’t see that. We have a rhyme to our reason. What we do isn’t random.”

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