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RS&H Voices: John Holmes

November 14, 2023      By Holly Tishfield

Tags: Engineering, Aviation, Our People

John Holmes is an Airfield Engineer II in the Raleigh, North Carolina office. Since beginning his career with RS&H nearly eight years ago, he has grown as a talented engineer and a skilled leader. John is working on a major project for the Raliegh-Durham International Airport and looks forward to tackling more complex projects.

Hear straight from John in this month’s RS&H Voices.

John Holmes graphic with Q&A.

Why do you like working with RS&H?

In my senior year of college, I took an aviation design class, and I met an RS&H employee who asked if we were interested in the job. I had no idea what the aviation field entailed, but I liked the class, so I applied. I love working with RS&H because I love the aviation field and the challenges that come with it. I’ve been here for eight years, and I feel like I learn something new every day.  

What is your biggest accomplishment while at RS&H?

Professionally, my biggest accomplishment was getting my license and becoming a standalone engineer. Within RS&H, my biggest accomplishment has been moving to a seniority position and managing new, complex projects.   

How have you grown professionally?

I have broken out of my comfort zone, for sure. Out of college, I hated public speaking, it was horrible. But growing in my technical abilities, my confidence in speaking in front of a group has skyrocketed. I feel much more comfortable speaking on technical subjects and speaking to clients about upcoming projects.  

What are you working on right now?

Both of my major projects right now are at Raliegh-Durham International Airport. The first one, which I’m the project manager for, is a parking lot expansion project. The second one is their new runway project, which will be a decade-long endeavor by the time it’s all said and done. It’s exciting to be a part of it all.  

John Holmes and his wife. Who are your mentors or inspirations at the company?

Two people come to mind. Tom Slater, whom I met while I was still in college, took me under his wing and has shaped the way I approach projects. My other mentor would be Taryn Little, who is my current supervisor and has helped me grow alongside her. They have both had a huge impact on my career. 

What aspects of your role excite you the most? 

The very beginning and the very end of a project. At the beginning you’re in the planning phase, working through so many design concepts until you start to mold together the project fully. In the end, when construction is completed, you truly get to see the impact that you’ve made on the community.  

What are you hoping to achieve in the future? 

One immediate goal is that I’m looking to get Envision certified. Pursuing this certification will make me more qualified to make those sustainability considerations as a part of the design process. For my long-term goals, I am going to eat and breathe runway for the next few years. I want to continue being a lead engineer on important projects.  

What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on at RS&H?

I would say at Albert J. Ellis Airport, in North Carolina, where we worked on the air-side land-side project. It had been designed when I started, but I had the opportunity to be a field inspector and help design a project that coincided with it. I got to be in the field actively looking at what we were designing, which was really fun. 

What parts of our company mission, vision, or values do you resonate with the most?

I think that the Integrity and Creativity pillars are two places that I align with. I do my best to think outside the box where I can, but I like trying to be innovative to improve a project that I’m working on. It speaks to the Integrity pillar too, because at the end of the day, we’re trying to have client satisfaction too, so we have to be honest with our clients to achieve the best outcome.  

What’s your go-to to relax after a long day?

As my wife would probably tell you, I cannot sit still. Usually, I’ll end up going home and finding something that needs to be done. We live on a small farm, so taking care of animals, building something, working in the garden, taking my son for a walk through the woods. That’s my favorite way to unwind. 

Do you have any pets?

We have a couple of goats, a couple of turkeys, and a whole lot of chickens. We have plans to expand those numbers sooner rather than later.  

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