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Member Spotlight:

Rick MacInnes, P.E.
Senior Associate
KCI Technologies

Posted April 6, 2020


At some point during excavation for the new Bolton Hill subway station (now called State Center), Rick MacInnes learned about the hazards of “quick conditions.”  The ground would get so watery that it neared the consistency of quicksand. 

“It’s embarrassing when you’re down there and you have to get a Gradall to reach over and pull you out, and then you leave your boots three feet down in the mud,” he said.

A civil engineer and lifelong “big builder,” MacInnes spent 35 years at Kiewit Construction engineering subways, highways, sewer lines and other infrastructure. The career path sometimes sent him far down a ladder beneath a manhole cover to inspect a major sewer bypass. “Everything around me was not pleasant and all I could think was, ‘I spent four years in college for this,’” he said.  At other points, he was working on sections of the Jones Falls Expressway and marveling at the giant, cantilevered concrete decks, the rusting bridges that “were standing there out of habit,” and the engineering rigors and innovation that went into renovating them. 

Those projects also taught him to respect the skills of laborers and tradespeople, and the efforts it takes to successfully deliver a big project.

“Early in my career, I learned from a grizzled labor foreman that much of the planning for the work happened before shift and after shift,” he said. “If you want to learn, you’ve got to be there for the first pot of coffee and be there long after most people have gone home… My tagline all through my career has been, ‘must be present to win.’”

Although he “retired,” MacInnes now serves as a senior associate at KCI Technologies. His responsibilities cover constructability reviews, risk management and trouble-shooting large projects. He is also heavily involved in hiring and training young engineers.

“I have the best job in the company because I am hiring the future of KCI,” he said. 

Through KCI’s rotation program, new engineers spend their first year completing three-month assignments with four different disciplines. 

“The object is to connect with something that really lights their fire, that becomes their passion as an engineer,” MacInnes said. “The object is to make your job, your hobby. I tell all of our engineers, ‘If you’re not waking up five minutes before your alarm goes off, something’s wrong. You should be waking up before your alarm because you’re excited to go to work.’”




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