SEH Names Paul Wells West Region Leader in Colorado and Wyoming

Paul Wells, PE*, has served as SEH west region practice center leader for transportation and structural engineering for a number of years. We're delighted to share that, as of July 2020, Paul has undertaken the role of SEH west region leader.

Paul's proven leadership, staff engagement and growth mentality will serve SEH well in his new role.
Dave Ott, SEH CEO and President

Paul joined SEH in 2013 as leader of the highway design practice. He was elected to the SEH Board of Directors in October 2019 and is in the midst of serving a two-year term. In his new role, Paul replaces John Simmer – who recently retired after a highly successful career and 25 years in the A/E industry. As west region leader, Paul will oversee 110 employees in four offices across Colorado and Wyoming.

Get to know Paul

What drew you to the engineering field? What about the field did you find most interesting?

When I was a young man, I was working construction on a water line project in Wyoming when these people showed up at the job site and began testing the compaction of my backfill. It piqued my interest, so I asked them what they were doing. They told me they were engineers and explained what they did as engineers – the rest is history. 

The part I find most interesting about the engineering field is the aspect of leading people. I find great satisfaction in helping people reach their career goals.

What would you be doing if you hadn't gone into engineering?

I have always been interested in history and would likely have become a history professor.

What are you looking forward most about your new role?

I'm excited by the opportunity to grow SEH’s presence in and around the Rocky Mountains and the opportunities it will afford our employee-owners. It's through our people that SEH prospers. Together, we’re better!

How does your background in transportation position you for this leadership role?

I have been a transportation engineer for the bulk of my 25+ year career. The majority of projects we work on involve many different disciplines, from planners and environmental scientists to civil engineers and construction services. Leading projects like these has set me up to lead the technically diverse group of people in Colorado and Wyoming – and hopefully beyond.

What message would you like to send to our clients?

SEH is well-known for our return clients. One of the statistics I am most proud of as a Company is that more than 80% of our clients are return clients! I want to continue this important work with our existing clients and also show new clients what it’s like to partner with SEH, so that they will become repeat clients as well.

Describe some of the bigger projects you have led.

Throughout my career, I have worked on projects of all shapes and sizes. I have worked on multimillion dollar environmental impact statements for the Regional Transportation District in Colorado. I’ve worked on a 10-mile project adding lanes to I-25, which runs through Colorado, including many interchanges and bridges. I’ve also worked on the design of the Northwest Parkway in Colorado, and managed multiple on-call projects for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), E-470 and other local municipalities.

Each one of these projects, big and small, have had a positive impact on people’s lives and their communities –
this is what our roles as engineers, architects and scientists are all about.

What project are you most proud of? Why?

Early in my career, I served as design engineer for a CDOT project on the Colorado Western Slope. The project went well – we added safety shoulders, corrected horizontal and vertical geometry, and added passing lanes. But it wasn’t until a year later that I realized the true impact of the project as it was relayed to me by the client. He let me know that prior to our project, this stretch of highway had somewhere around five fatalities each year. In the year after the project was completed, they didn’t have a single death. Not one. The work we do can save lives – and that’s what I’m most proud of.

What advice would you give to a young engineer just beginning in the field? Any message to potential recruits?

Do what you love to do and the rest will work itself out. If you want to be great at your job, pick a profession that allows you to do what you love.

What do you do for fun?

I really enjoy cooking, experimenting with different flavor combinations to come up with just the right dish. I also enjoy traveling – experiencing different cities and cultures – and playing golf.

*Registered professional engineer in CO.

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