Toby Muse Named Leader of SEH Civil Engineering for Twin Cities Metro Area

July 24, 2020

Toby Muse, PE (Minn.), has been named leader of SEH’s civil engineering operations for the Minneapolis-St. Paul (Twin Cities) metropolitan area.

Over the past 17 years with SEH, Toby has served as project manager, associate and senior project engineer – working with clients to design safe and efficient trail, roadway, as well as utility and municipal transportation system assets. Most notably, Toby recently served as project manager for the award-winning Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail project.

Related Content: Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail – Interactive ArcGIS Case Study

The passion and dedication that Toby has brought to SEH, his projects and the client teams that he leads – for the past 17 years – is something to be admired.

Toby’s clients consistently give him high marks for leadership, client service and the ability to deliver on his commitments. He brings a quick and flexible learning style as well as an eagerness to adopt new technologies – each of which will help the employees he leads grow and better serve SEH clients throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

We sat down with Toby to learn more about his background, approach to clients and their projects, and vision for this new role as civil engineering leader:

What’s the first step in making sure a client feels valued?

Be genuinely committed to providing excellent client service. Even though most of us have technical backgrounds and expertise, first and foremost we are serving people in a service industry. When I work with my clients, they know I genuinely care about them and their projects.

I don’t view the work as a business transaction; I view it as a relationship. Listen to understand, and always respond to their requests promptly. Then, do what you say you are going to do, and do it when you say you will. This builds trust, happiness and long-term relationships.

How do you sustain these commitments?

Hard work, attention to detail and repetition. Continue to refine and sharpen what works; discard what doesn’t. Surround yourself with a unified team of individuals who are committed to doing everything we can to serve our clients’ needs.  

Related Content: Toby Muse Shares 5 Critical Traits of Today’s Project Manager

Did you always want to become an engineer? What’s led you to where you are today?

I always enjoyed mathematics and science courses throughout middle and high school. I came across engineering when researching college majors – in particular, civil engineering. This field coupled with my personality has led me to be part of the consultant business throughout my career.

Let’s talk about technology. How do you incorporate technology into your projects?

First, I have to get past being comfortable and be willing to try new workflows in order to serve our clients better. I try to understand what SEH can offer to help make our projects gain efficiencies and provide more value.

I also ask a lot of questions, usually something along the lines of “Why are we still doing it this way?” and “Is there a better way?” Because of this approach, I recently implemented regular use of geographic information systems (GIS), drone filming and photography, InfraWorks software for 3D visualizations and iPads for Resident Project Representative (RPR) construction staff use on my projects.

Specific to your colleagues here at SEH, how do you motivate the teams you lead and partner with?

Communication is key. Explain the “why.” Tell them why the client is doing the project. Tell them why the client hired us to help. Tell them why they specifically are needed to help complete a task. During and following our work, I always try to provide praise and gratitude. It is very rare that someone achieves success without the help of someone else. I am no different and work with so many talented and professional people!

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in engineering?

Study hard. Expose yourself to as many different areas of engineering as you can. Volunteer. Find internships. Network with professionals in your field of interest. These professionals are often willing to provide guidance and advice, but you have to take the first step and ask.

When you’re not leading projects, what do you do in your spare time?

My wife and I purchased a pop-up camper last fall, so this year she and I and our two sons will be exploring at least 10 different campgrounds. We started in May and hope to complete our adventures by October. I also enjoy traveling to learn and see different cultures, and enjoy recreational activities like hiking, biking, swimming and golf. I’m also a big fan of good food and don’t mind getting my mitts dirty in the kitchen.

Learn more about Toby and the aforementioned Nine Mile Regional Creek Trail project here – including the project story, drone footage, features and insight from Three Rivers Park District Associate Superintendent Jonathan Vlaming:

 

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