You never know WHO you could be sitting beside in that next planning meeting or conference… THE ENGINEER: JOE LEONI, P.E. Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QAQC) Manager at ARCADIS U.S., Inc. “A leading global natural and built asset design and consultancy firm that provides consultancy, design, engineering and management services in the fields of infrastructure, water, environment and buildings.” A member of ARCADIS’ Atlanta office for the past 13 years, Joe Leoni focuses mainly on performing quality assurance/ quality control (QAQC) on roadway design projects, project preliminary construction cost estimates, concept reports, design exceptions and variances, as well as serving on Value Engineering (VE) study teams. He is adept at serving major clients, such as Cobb County and Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) – an organization he knows extremely well. Prior to joining ARCADIS in the role of QAQC Manager, Leoni had an impressive 28 years of experience in the engineering fields of roadway design, project management and design office administration with GDOT. He has been married to his wife, Donna, for 35 years and they have one son, David, who is a Georgia Tech grad. This McDonough resident is also an avid sports fan and Atlanta Falcons season pass holder, enjoys going to Georgia Tech football games with his son, attends Sunday services with his wife at Jones Memorial United Methodist Church and dreams of one day becoming a standup comedian. THE CERTIFIED BARBECUE COMPETITION JUDGE: Having been raised on meatballs and lasagna in an Italian household in the North, Leoni got his first taste of barbecue in the 1970’s while on leave from the Navy. He thought it was one of the most wonderful things he’d ever tasted and jokes that it may have played a role in his eventual move to Georgia. Leoni got his “big break” in 1992 when Stan Gambrel – the founder of the Big Pig Jig in Vienna, Georgia – asked him if he liked barbecue; he has been a judge at the Big Pig Jig every year since. He also judges at least one other competition in Georgia each year and brings his wife Donna along for the ride. His claim-to-fame is that he once appeared on Destination America’s reality TV show, BBQ Pitmasters, alongside “The Godfather of Barbecue,” Myron Mixon of Jack’s Old South BBQ. HOW DOES YOUR ALTER EGO IMPACT YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE? “There are a lot of similarities between reviewing roadway construction plans and judging barbecue. Both involve studying something and off ering an opinion. Both have certain criteria that must be met - in barbecue that comprises appearance, flavor, tenderness and presentation. I bring a great deal of confidence to both roles because I think I’m pretty good at being a QAQC Manager AND a barbecue judge. Because I regularly play the role of judge, I believe that has helped me view competition diff erently. For instance, GDOT once submitted Value Engineering (VE) studies done by ARCADIS on two of their projects for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) VE Awards and won both awards. I was the only common person on both teams. It gave me the perspective of the other side. Just like the competitors at a barbecue contest, I’m always shooting for the best product.” ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER ENGINEERS ABOUT STRIKING A BALANCE? “Enjoy life! It’s so important to have other interests outside of work – particularly when you can share them with your family. Find something that makes you smile. After all, it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.” Do YOU know an engineer with an interesting hobby, skill or “alter ego”? Nominate them for a future spotlight by sending their name, title, company, contact information and a brief description to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published by American Council of Engineering Companies of Georgia. View All Articles.
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