Lyle TeKippe retires after five decades

After more than 50 years of working as a civil engineer, Professional Engineer Lyle TeKippe is retiring from Fehr Graham. His last day is Dec. 9.

TeKippe grew up about 15 miles north of West Union and two of his older brothers were engineers, which led him down the same career path. In 1969, he graduated from Iowa State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Engineering. He landed his first job at Bert B. Hanson & Associates, where he worked as a civil engineer while getting his master's degree in Civil Engineering from Iowa State.

By 1980, he established TeKippe Engineering, and four years later his brother George joined him as an owner in the firm. The duo decided to add land surveying to the list of services, and Lyle TeKippe earned his Professional Land Surveyor license. The firm expanded to 25 employees across three offices in West Union, Manchester and Cedar Rapids and focused on municipal work.

Eventually, TeKippe and his partners decided to sell their firm. When TeKippe met Mick Gronewold, Fehr Graham Owner, Board Chairman and Professional Engineer, he said it was easy to see the bigger picture. It made perfect sense to join forces with a firm with similar services and values.

"That was as good of a match as we could have possibly hoped for," TeKippe said. "We really feel to this day that was the best decision we could have made."

TeKippe joined Fehr Graham on Jan. 1, 2013.

"Fehr Graham has been fortunate to have Lyle stay on board with us for 10 years," Gronewold said. "Lyle elevated what he started, kept relationships strong and passed along his knowledge to the next generation of engineers. His daily presence in the office will most certainly be missed, but we are excited for the freedom this step provides for him and Deb."

After working for half a century, TeKippe has seen immense changes in the industry. Most notably, he said more efficient field equipment and technology are what stand out. He'll miss clients and staff members most after developing deep friendships – many that have lasted decades.

During TeKippe's tenure, he said he's most proud of a project for Allamakee County Conservation in Lansing, Iowa. He was the Project Manager for the Great River Road and Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center, where he led a team of engineers, architects and land surveyors to create the award-winning project that serves as the primary focus of the Driftless Area with cultural, recreational, natural and historical significance.

TeKippe is part of several organizations, including the Society of Land Surveyors of Iowa and the National Society of Professional Surveyors. He also was a past president of the Iowa Engineering and Land Surveying Board and enjoyed being part of the team that oversaw engineering and land survey licenses in the state.

Plans for retirement include traveling and spending more time with family. TeKippe and his wife, Deb, have been married for more than 50 years and have three sons and two granddaughters.

"This career has meant so much to me," TeKippe said. "I'm proud to have been part of incredible engineers and projects that have made a difference for people. I wish continued success to Fehr Graham."