I never intended to work in bridge preservation. I wanted to be a structural engineer, maybe working on the preservation side of the industry, but definitely working with buildings. When I got my first job working for a consulting firm in New Jersey that mostly did bridge design, I saw it as temporary setback in my career. I was going to design and build castles, or restore cathedrals, or something equally grand.
Despite that eventual goal, I’d always liked historic bridges. I went to school not far from the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena, which is still one of my favorite bridges in the world.
I took archery classes in its shadow and drove past it most days on my way to visit my friends. Other bridges had also captured my attention, but, as with the Colorado Street Bridge, it was mainly the grand, well-documented structures.
My first inkling that bridge preservation might be a viable career choice came just as I finished my time in New Jersey and was about to head to York (UK) for graduate school. My father, who now uses the title Ideapreneur, was always interested in helping me come up with business ideas and so, with his help, I started looking at developing a website to promote bridge tourism. We had been inspired by a number of recent vacations we had taken as a family to visit bridges, including the new bridge at the Hoover Dam, the Calatrava bridge in Redding, CA, and driving up the California coast to see the arch bridges along CA Highway 1. If we enjoyed visiting bridges and were regularly looking for more to go visit, didn’t that mean that there would be others with a similar interest? It seemed like a reasonable idea to pursue. (At the time I wasn’t aware of Bridgehunter.com, which now accomplishes much of what I was imagining.)
How did I get from there to here? Part II of my story to be continued.