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Q&A with Mark Hedge, principal at Lochsa Engineering

Mark Hedge was a teenager in 1976 when he received his first lesson in engineering and construction. At 14, Hedge did surveying work for his father as part of the rebuilding efforts in connection to the collapse of the Teton Dam in eastern Idaho.

Hedge continued surveying through high school and college, working on a variety of projects, including roads for oil exploration, timber harvest sales, mining claims and property surveys. The 1985 University of Idaho graduate entered civil engineering, accepting an entry-level post in Las Vegas at another engineering company in town. His first job was designing a subdivision in the Spring Valley community.

Hedge co-founded Lochsa Engineering in 1995 with a University of Idaho friend. Hedge is now the company’s principal and oversees 65 staff members, including 30 engineers. The company specializes in casinos, resorts, educational facilities and larger commercial projects. Its portfolio includes 15 towers on the Strip.

“Our first projects were commercial, nonresidential, and the goal was to be involved in as many resort projects as possible,” Hedge said.

Hedge, 53, named his company after the Lochsa River in central Idaho, a waterway that he and his university pal and golfing mate followed to Montana when they played college golf matches.

“We were green before green was popular,” Hedge quipped.

He helped Lochsa Engineering expand its civil engineering, structural engineering and surveying market throughout the country and in the Middle East and Asia. He has designed or supervised the design of residential, commercial, educational, resort, manufacturing and warehouse facilities.

The married father of one daughter was born in St. Anthony, a small, 3,000-resident Idaho farming community. Before attending the University of Idaho, he attended Dixie Junior College in St. George, Utah; during those days, he got to learn Las Vegas.

Hedge is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers and the American Council of Engineering Companies.

What is your favorite type of engineering?

It’s a project that has no problems. The boring ones.

Why is engineering fascinating?

That’s a tough one. Part of the fascination and pleasure is doing something and designing something most people don’t do, whether it’s drainage or utilities. And if you come up with a unique design, that’s always a plus. It’s what I do.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I enjoy traveling and seeing family. My wife is British, so we always enjoy trips to southern England and Cornwall, and I have family in Washington state to get out of the desert. And there’s the occasional golf trip to Pebble Beach.

What was your most challenging engineering project?

For our company, the most challenging was the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

When a bunch of engineers get together, what do they like to talk about — who won the game last night or new projects?

More than likely, who won the game last night. Generally, not work-related subjects.

What do you want people to take away when they interact with your company?

We’d like to think that they take away or get from our company a show of professionalism and that we’re conscientious and we really care for each and every project.