Robert Léger (pronounced Leh-Shey) is a key hire senior civil engineer in DOWL’s Portland office. He comes to DOWL with the right kind of experience—over 20 years of large and small site design project management and design development practice.
He’s a guy with a variety of interests not typically associated with an engineer. Robert is a bike packer (meaning he goes on extended camping trips on his bicycle), an electric dance music fan (he’s been to the Electric Daisy Carnival—look it up, we didn’t know what it was either), and he and his wife are beekeepers (he has two hives in his backyard right now).
Talk to Robert and you know you’re in a conversation with someone who is going to take what was said to heart. A curious intellectual, Robert is also someone who cares about your experience with the interaction. This caring nature might be due to his customer service roots. Growing up, his dad worked for Long’s Drugs in California and Arizona, and Robert worked on and off for the company through the years.
As an engineer, he says customer service means giving the client more than what they expect. “I like to really dial it in,” said Robert “Which means meeting all the codes and requirements, but also giving the owner the best value for their property which translates to more developable land.”
The dial-it-in mentality is due in part to necessity because, according to Robert, all the easy parcels have already been developed. It’s also one of the things he loves the most about his job.
“For example, these sites may have wetlands or require pump stations or are hemmed in by existing utilities, but it’s working together with a team to find innovative solutions that really excites me,” said Robert.
While big, complicated site design projects have become his specialty, his first toe into the business was a little more foundational.
“As a civil engineering student in college, I got a student internship with the City of Flagstaff,” said Robert. “It was great experience— hand drafting as-builts on mylar, tallying fixed asset quantities for Finance, and then CAD drafting the new utility linework on quarter section maps so the GIS team could import it for their maps.”
He said that after drafting as-builts for a while, he went to a general contractor performing public improvements in downtown Flagstaff to see if they’d let him hang out. “I wanted to see how they installed the improvements I would be drafting as-builts for when they finished. I told them I’d do it for free,” said Robert. “For about six weeks, they let me drop in during my free time, and they even paid me!”
After college he moved to Oregon and worked as a land surveyor for Oregon Department of Transportation and was later able to use the experience and hours toward his PE. He credits his early drafting and survey experience with giving him a solid backbone for his site civil design career.
Today, Robert is still camping and pedaling (did we mention he worked as a bike messenger in downtown Portland when he first moved to town 25 years ago?). He and his wife Casey are hoping to winter over the two hives of honeybees. We are just hoping he likes to share the honey. Welcome to DOWL, Robert!