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Employee-Owner Spotlight: Justin Humke, Business Unit Leader, Des Moines, Iowa

We recently met with Justin Humke, a Business Unit Leader from our South Central region who is based out of our Des Moines, Iowa office to learn how he has grown at Braun Intertec and what it’s like working with his team.

What is your role at Braun Intertec?
I’m currently a Business Unit Leader for the Upper Midwest region. My background is in geotechnical engineering but I’ve since taken on more of an operational and business development role.  

Tell us about your background.
I studied engineering for a funny reason, actually. I don’t have any family or friends in this field, but math and science always came pretty easy for me. In middle school one of my teachers pretty much told me she would be disappointed in me if I didn’t grow up to become an engineer. She must have seen something in me, so I went to school for it, and the rest is history!

I started at Braun Intertec as a co-op in 2011 and worked within the construction materials testing and drilling departments. Over the next few years, my role evolved into the geotechnical engineering group working on transportation and commercial projects throughout Iowa.

I became a Business Unit Manager in 2017, opened our Des Moines, IA office in 2019, and became the Business Unit Leader of the Upper Midwest region in January of 2021.

What got you interested or led you towards IADOT–specific work?
In 2012, our team picked up our first Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) On-Call contract. Through our project delivery on that contract, we were able to build relationships with the Iowa DOT, and with other heavy civil firms we were working alongside. Since then, we have become their trusted partner and go-to geotechnical engineering firm. It has allowed us to work on several high-profile projects all over the state of Iowa.

What is your favorite part about working at Braun Intertec?
My favorite part about Braun Intertec is its willingness to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of its employees. As I mentioned, my background is in geotechnical engineering, but I’ve always gravitated towards the operational and business development aspects. This willingness to allow me to pursue those passions is something not many companies would do, and I feel very fortunate to be part of such a supportive organization.

As for our office, we’ve grown so much. We were just a small branch office when I started and have worked our way up to where we are right now where I’ve had the privilege of working on some of the most high-profile projects in the state of Iowa along the way. It’s been so much fun to watch us grow.

Can you tell us about the Iowa team and your team dynamics?
Our team in Iowa is a really fun group! It sounds cliché, but the Iowa team is like family. We all get along so well and have created a very positive, collaborative culture. Sure, we disagree on things just like any other group, but we will always look out for the best interest of each other no matter what. It honestly makes coming to work every day not feel like a job.

What does safety mean to you?
Safety is a mindset. You can watch videos and take training courses all day long, but the mindset needs to be there. The last couple of years we’ve really grown in this department. People are seeing how important it is to be safe both at work and at home, and we have really seen a positive culture shift.

What does employee-ownership mean to you?
Employee ownership means you have a vested interest in all your decisions and actions. The consequences of those decisions and actions have a lasting impact on you and your fellow employee owners. That really encourages everyone to do their best, do the right thing, and make sure that we are all pulling in the same direction.