Rindlisbacher named new District 6 engineer;
relationship with colleagues moves to new level
For years he has worked with them or for them. But on Sept. 8, Blake Rindlisbacher will become one of them.
In a career that predates graduation from the University of Idaho Civil Engineering program, Rindlisbacher has been professionally associated with all but one of the ITD’s current district engineers. They have each been colleagues and mentors. Rindlisbacher will become the newest member of the group, replacing Tom Cole as District 6 Engineer in Rigby.
He spent the past 71⁄2 years as Ed Bala’s understudy (assistant district engineer) in District 5, a training ground that has prepared him well for his new position. Both districts share similar geography, climate, growth and system needs. It promises to be a smooth, and relatively short-term commute from Pocatello to Rigby, about 60 miles to the north.
Rindlisbacher began his ITD career in Idaho Falls (District 6) as an hourly employee in the summer of 1989. The following summer he held a similar position in District 2. He accepted a full-time position as an Engineer In Training (EIT) in District 4 after graduating from the University of Idaho with an engineering degree in 1991.
Rindlisbacher worked out of Shoshone (District 4) about 3 1⁄2 years before his professional rotation took him to Headquarters in Boise, where he advanced to a construction associate.
He then returned to Lewiston (District 2) where he worked five years, first as the resident engineer for two years and as project development engineer for three years. The professional path took him to Pocatello in 2001.
During that advancement, Rindlisbacher lived or worked in every district except District 1 and worked for every current district engineer except Damon Allen in Coeur d’Alene.
Among the more memorable projects that mark his 18-year ITD tenure are work on District 2’s Goff (Time Zone) Bridge near Riggins and emergency repair projects at Cottonwood Creek Bridge (U.S. 12), Pinehurst Bridge (U.S. 95) and Hazard Creek to Pinehurst (U.S. 95) realignment/reconstruction, all of which were damaged by floods in 1996 and 1997.
Rindlisbacher also considers the U.S. 91 - Utah State Line to Preston, the U.S. 30 - Topaz Bridge to Lava Hot Springs, the I-15 - Clark Street Interchange (Pocatello) and the U.S. 89 - Home Canyon to Bishoff Canyon projects as memorable projects in District 5.
Although he admits that his career has been focused on development and construction of highway projects, his new position will require a multi-faceted approach that includes budget/finance, personnel, community relations and policy-political interaction. Rindlisbacher expects to focus on accountability – “fix the problems you identify and become part of the solution" – as well as the growing emphasis on accomplishing more with fewer resources.
Practical Design – ensuring that projects are appropriate in scope for the environment and intended purposes – is an important tool in operating efficiently, the new district engineer explains. The approach is to build what you need and only as much as you need, while looking for more cost-effective ways of completing it.
District 6 has been involved in some innovative projects in the past and has a cadre of employees committed to efficiency, he suggests. That will make his job easier. “It will boil down to looking at doing what we have been doing, but in new, smarter, more efficient ways.”
Although he assumes his new position on Sept. 8, Rindlisbacher expects to commute from his home near Chubbuck for the remainder of the year. Daughter Katie, 16, is a junior at Highland High School in Pocatello and is active in the school’s band program. The band has been invited to appear as part of the halftime ceremony at the FedEx Orange Bowl, BCS college football championship game, Jan. 8, 2009, in Miami.
Katie and younger sibling Jenna, 13, an eighth-grade student at Hawthorne Junior High School, and wife Jodie expect to move to the Idaho Falls-Rigby area after the conclusion of the fall semester. Son Jake finished a year at Utah State University and has begun a two-year church mission in Paraguay.