Anniversary Interview: Bob Farley

Bob has been with HMB for 1 year and currently serves on the Design Review Team for the Louisville Southern-Indiana Ohio River Bridges project.

What made you get into civil engineering?

I was somewhat good at math and science, but I really didn’t know what to pursue as a career.  I knew I wanted to go to college, since I grew up on a dairy farm and I got tired of getting up a 5 am every morning.  I didn’t have much money, so I needed some help with that. I saw a posting on the hall next to the counselor’s office about a highway scholarship.  I applied and that was that.

Where did you attend college? What did you major in? 

UK and Civil Engineering.  I did manage to get a degree and a job with the Highway Department.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I like project involvement and making some impact on how it turns out.

What’s the most interesting part of your job? 

Reacting with the people involved and being able to contribute to a better project.

What has been your best/worst/funniest moment at HMB?

The worst and funniest is when I have to introduce myself at a meeting.  It took me 6 years to learn to say that I was a Location Engineer with the Division of Highway Design of the KYTC after nearly 32 years with the FHWA.  When I first started with HMB, I said I was with CTS.  After being told that I should not say that, I tried HMB.  I finally was told that I was a part of the KYTC Review team. Steve Waddle said at the Partnering Meeting that I don’t know who I work for.  Now I just stutter and say I am Bob Farley and anything else that comes out of my mouth.

Which project(s) are you most proud to have worked on in your career? Why?  

The Pikeville Cut Thru where we moved a river, a railroad, a highway and made more useable land in Pikeville than existed prior to the project.  This was a multi-agency project which required extensive coordination.

The Portsmouth Bridge over the Ohio River, where I worked with the Cabinet thru all phases from environmental to design to construction.  Funding required special legislation after the existing bridge had to be closed for repairs and there was no way across the river without a substantial detour.  We even did a temporary river ferry for cars and a helicopter for emergency situations, since there wasn’t a hospital on the Kentucky side.

The Watterson Expressway reconstruction, which was a maintenance of traffic nightmare with all the traffic and substandard interchanges.  Dealing with all the different contractors that were active at the same time really was a coordination problem.

The I 64 rehab from the Watterson thru the tunnel, where we closed the road on the weekends to do the work.  This was the first project in Louisville where we did that on a major roadway.  Setting up the contract with incentives/disincentives such that it would be done in the shortest amount of time was challenging.

The downtown Louisville Bridge project that I work on now, with it complex design of the interchange and the maintenance of traffic problems.

 What are your hobbies?

I have a little farm that I play on and I like seeing the grandchildren grow.  I teach adult Sunday School at Buck Run Baptist Church and do some other church activities.  I like to watch UK football and basketball, but that can be frustrating lately!

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take one item what would it be? 

My wife, but I guess you didn’t mean that.  I could take a boat so I could escape.

What’s your favorite movie?

“It’s a Wonderful Life” that we watch every year at Christmas time.  Do we really have that much effect on others?

 What’s your favorite TV show?

NCIS or Blue Blood, it’s a tie. 

What would be your dream vacation? 

Yellowstone Park, but I have done that.  I would like to go to Yosemite.

What superhero would you be and why?

I always wanted to fly, so Superman.  I even jumped off a shed with an umbrella once when I was about 8, hoping that would work as a parachute.  Didn’t work too good, but I didn’t break anything.

If you could travel by plane, train, automobile or boat, which would you choose? 

I see more by automobile and am able to stop where and when I want as long as time is not an issue.

What is your favorite genre of music? What’s your favorite band? 

I don’t know.  I only have 3 Disc’s in my truck and 2 of them are the Carpenters.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

I like Cheddars; it’s good and it’s cheap

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