BRIDGE TO BRIDGE
BY: JEN LEVISEN, EDITOR AT THE FORUM, MORTARR
When it comes to some of the most challenging projects around the world, Lucid Engineers rises in more ways than one. From stadiums to bridges, to several thousand-ton jacking operations, for the last 45 years the Lucid team has built a reputation on their unique ability to bring a clear and articulated approach to the most complex of projects. Led by founder and president Jim Ronning, Lucid serves the commercial heavy steel and concrete construction markets.
Lucid Engineers is one of Mortarr’s earliest adopters, because … they just get it.
“Connections used to be made and jobs awarded because of word-of-mouth, and that just doesn’t cut it anymore,” says Jim. “I’ve been working in this industry for 45 years and was, admittedly, quite content with the way my professional career was going. But I took on a couple of younger guys who brought new talents and new skill sets to the company, along with all of that young ambition.
"THE STATUS QUO ISN'T ENOUGH ANYMORE. MORTARR IS PROVIDING A NECESSARY AND VALUABLE SERVICE."
Awe, we're blushing, but enough about us and more about you. It all started with a bridge ...
“In April of 1973, I was in my last quarter at the U. It was the spring quarter, and I interviewed for a bridge job in Kentucky,” says Jim. “A college friend of mine, who was working for this company already, called me up and said they wanted to interview me for a job. I went in and interviewed thinking it was great timing as I was in my last quarter, but they said they wanted me in Kentucky the next week. So they said go down and finish this job, and when you are done, we’ll pay you to go back to school and finish.
Well, who could say no to that?
“I’ve worked for various companies during my time in this business, and if you want to keep on the cutting edge, if you want to keep gaining experience, getting those different projects or bigger projects, you have to become nomadic in a way — company to company, bridge to bridge. I realized that very early on.”
THE STATUS QUO ISN'T ENOUGH ANYMORE. MORTARR IS PROVIDING A NECESSARY AND VALUABLE SERVICE.
Throughout Jim’s 45 years in the industry, he’s worked for over 9 companies, one of which was Danny’s Construction Company, steel erection specialists based in Shakopee, Minnesota.
“It was the last company stateside that I worked for before starting my consulting business,” he said. “The founder and owner of Danny’s at that time, Keiran O’Brien, we call him ‘OB,’ he encouraged me to go off and do my own consulting business, and he was my first client. He was client #1, and I just logged in 97 clients in the books.”
Well Jim, it sounds like OB’s recommendation wasn’t too far off the mark.
The Lucid team, based in Wayzata, Minnesota, is currently made of up of Jim and two associates, Mike Miller and Dave Klaseus, and depending on the project, they’ll bring in sub-consultants. “We’ve had as many as 10 consultants, depending on the size of the project.”
A primary focus of the firm is assisting clients during the construction phase of their projects by providing full-time onsite engineering support. Lucid’s ability to move from the design of the erection procedure to onsite execution reduces costs, timelines, and errors during construction.
“Our strong suit is that we can relate to the workers that work on these projects,” says Jim. “We work right alongside them, we climb the steel and are right with them. We’ve worked hard to earn the trust and confidence our clients have in us. Often times, engineering can be difficult for the lay person to understand. Our name reflects our ability to bring clear solutions to every phase of the project we’re involved in.”
Lucid specializes in long-span structures such as bridges, sports stadiums — Jim says roof structures are like bridges, and some commercial high-rise buildings, for example.
“We really specialize in construction projects outside of the normal brick and mortar,” says Jim.
Some of Lucid's projects include:
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a multi-purpose retractable roof stadium located in Atlanta, Georgia
Arch Bridge Slide, a continuous steel through truss bridge that spans the Mississippi River in Hastings, Minnesota.
Baxter Arena, a sports arena owned and operated by the University of Nebraska Omaha located in Omaha, Nebraska.
Storebælt Bridge, a multi-element fixed link crossing the Great Belt straight between the Danish islands of Zealand and Funen.
US Bank Stadium, a multi-purpose fixed roof stadium located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
With so many successful projects, one of his most iconic is located just up the road from his office — the home to the Minnesota Vikings.
“US Bank Stadium was a really, really fun project to work on,” says Jim. “My client, Danny’s Construction Company, went into the project with the right plan. Throughout the whole project there were four licensed engineers on the project — two from Danny’s and two from our team. It was a technically challenging project, but without a doubt, a technical and financial success. That combination doesn’t always happen.
“It was a pretty interesting job,” says Jim. “It was supposed to be the world’s longest suspension bridge, but because of scheduling, the Japanese beat us to it. Its center span is just over a mile.”
So with those projects, and more, in Lucid’s past, we had to ask what was next for the firm.
“What’s on the horizon for Lucid? We’ll be providing a full-time presence on a major bridge crossing in the Quad Cities. It’s a pretty unique bridge — a twin basket handle-arch bridge,” says Jim. “We’ve also started to get involved in the Las Vegas Raiders Stadium, and we’re waiting to hear on the Texas Rangers Stadium.”
And here at Mortarr, we can’t wait to be a part of it.