Milwaukee Area Engineers Highlight Advances in Technology, Accomplishments

Artificial intelligence and wood frame buildings will be more prevalent in future building projects, Milwaukee area civil and structural engineers told The Daily Reporter, noting how the new technology is becoming more common.

Local engineering firms promoted technical education, diversity and high-profile projects to raise awareness on engineers’ contributions for National Engineers Week, which was founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers. Engineers Week this year took place Feb. 19 to Feb. 25.

In Wisconsin, Milwaukee-based GRAEF was responsible for multiple projects like MSOE Diercks Hall, the Forest County Potawatomi Recreation Center and the Adventure Africa exhibit at the Milwaukee County Zoo. The company is working on the 44-story Couture as it comes out of the ground, GRAEF Project Leader Jim Hansen said.

“I’m personally excited to see the Couture coming out of the ground and being visible,” Hansen said. He said his favorite projects were the ones people get to visit with family and friends, such as Drexel Town Square, which features a mixed-use town center with several popular area shops and restaurants.

Hansen said he’s seen artificial intelligence make its way into the civil engineering world with intelligent transportation systems, which sense traffic issues to track for engineers. One area he works in is optimization design and software to take hand-drawn plans and make them economical.

After shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies have tried to implement interactive technology in the design side and sharpen its skills at digital collaboration for hybrid workers. People can walk through rooms of virtual buildings with virtual reality goggles and see what they will look like before construction, Hansen said.

“It’s much more interactive how people are going to see what buildings are going to look like,” he added.

March 6, 2023
Ethan Duran, Reporter - The Daily Reporter