Karen Hiatt decided as a student at Bonneville High School in Idaho Falls that she wanted to be an engineer. She enjoyed her math and science classes, and was told by teachers that engineering incorporates all of those interests and skills.
Hiatt became the fourth female assistant district engineer in Idaho, effective Monday (April 17). At 33, she also is the youngest. Hiatt was named ADE in District 6 to succeed Brent Jennings, ITD's new Traffic and Highway Safety Engineer.
“There are a lot of very talented and knowledgeable people I have worked with over the years at ITD who have helped me along in my career," Hiatt said. "I appreciate these people and look forward to the opportunities and challenges ahead.”
“Karen was selected from a pool of very qualified candidates,” District Engineer Tom Cole said in a memo to D6 staff announcing her selection. “I am confident that Karen will do an excellent job in filling Brent Jennings’ big shoes.”
Hiatt graduated from high school in 1991 and went on to the University of Idaho. She graduated in December 1996 with a degree in civil engineering and practical science. During her last two summers in college, she worked as an hourly employee at ITD, in 1995 for District 6 and the following year for District 4.
She entered ITD’s Engineer in Training program and worked for two years as an EIT in District 4. In October 1998, as she was preparing to marry Mark Hiatt of Idaho Falls, she transferred to District 6 and went to work in the Design section.
Hiatt worked in Region I for Brian Kremer and then “under-filled” a staff engineer position in Region II for Ken Hahn, her former boss in Design. She earned her professional engineer’s license in 2003 and continued working in the region.
When the project development engineer job became available in early 2005, Hiatt applied for and was accepted to fill the position. She says she liked working in Design and wasn’t looking for a change when the ADE position in District 6 opened after Brent Jennings’ departure for Headquarters in Boise.