At BIG RED DOG, we like to reflect on our team members that make our organization strong, creative, and supremely capable. This edition of our staff spotlight series introduces us to Jason Schmidt. Learn more about Jason below!
Where are you from?
I was born in Eureka California and grew up living in Vancouver, Washington / Portland, Oregon and Anchorage / Kenai, Alaska until moving to San Antonio with my wife in January of 2000. I’m a Pacific Northwest kid at heart.
Tell me something really interesting about you.
I absolutely love technology and music, and have been called a tech junkie as well as a music junky. I do, however, consider myself a music junky. I enjoy all types of music and I started going to concerts at an early age and have been fortunate to see some amazing artists over the years. Some notable acts over the years, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pixies, Jane’s Addiction, INXS, Nitzer Ebb, Skinny Puppy, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Dick Dale and many more. While I don’t frequent concerts as much as I use to, I continue to build a “Mega” collection of digital music. I have, cataloged, over 365 (24×7) days of continuous music available to me at any given moment and am working on cleaning up and cataloging an additional 500 to 600 gigs music, all the while searching, sharing and downloading even more. It’s kind of my thing.
Who has been your biggest mentor?
Of course my family has had a large influence on who I am, but there are two people that have truly enabled me to become who I am. The first is my grandfather. He taught me many valuable lessons over the years, the least of which is my strong work ethic. I could talk endlessly about so many things that he taught me, let’s just say he was a very kind and great man and is missed every day. The second person is Mr. Walt Skalicky, he is the single biggest factor in what set me on my path to where I am today. Not only was he my next door neighbor, but he was the Technical Drafting/Architectural Drafting instructor at the local high school. I had the opportunity, through some finagling, to take EVERY drafting/drawing class there was and even had some made up for me, through all four years of high school. He set me up with my first job, and after working with him to get computers with Autocad into the school system, I spent a couple of years teaching Autocad in some of his classes each day.
Everyone at BIG RED DOG has a story about why they joined the team. Tell me yours.
I’ve been “following” the company for some time. I’ve been friends with Bill Farley for many years and have worked with him in the past. I’ve also known and worked with a few of the owners of BIG RED DOG in the past. At some point toward the end of 2013, I began the discussion with Chris in San Antonio about joining the team after Mr. Farley moved to Tennessee. I really liked what I’ve seen the company doing over the past few years, their approach to marketing, the type of work they are doing, it’s different from your traditional civil engineering firms and is extremely refreshing. I was very excited when offered the opportunity to join the organization.
What was your first job?
I worked for a small engineering firm in Vancouver, WA. while I was in high school and I’ve worked for engineering firms ever since. I would show up to work every afternoon and begin working on redlines for four to five hours using Autocad r2.6 soon moving to R9 and then R10 with DCA. I worked on small residential subdivisions and Waste Management Recycling Centers. Back “in the day” not everything was done in CAD, we also had to use pencil, ink and leroy sets and it was VERY PAINFUL to sit and watch a pen plotter spit out a set of plans.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Staying current on technology trends and software tools/programs that are utilized in the A/E/C industry. I’m a believer in the use of technology to enable productivity and am always looking for ways to be more productive and teach others to be productive. Keeping the engineers happy can be difficult at times also, especially when things are busy.
What is your ideal vacation?
Skiing/Snowboarding during an epic snow fall season in the Northwest. I’ve not been in many years, but I use to spend most of my extra time in the mountains at places like Mt. Hood, Mt. Batchelor, Mt. Baker, Steven’s Pass, and Crystal Mountain just to name a few.
What do you listen to on the way to work?
If I’m not listening to google/play I’m probably tuned into NPR. I do also like to listen to 102.7 The Peak FM out of Vancouver, BC.
What is your favorite news source?
CNN or NPR
Do you have any pets?
My wife and I have a Schnoodle named Cowboy, a Beauceron mix named Sassy and a 150lb Male American Mastiff named Ziggy.
What’s your favorite sports team if you have one?
Portland Winterhawks (Amateur Hockey Team)
Let’s say you had to have one song stuck in your head all day long, which one would you choose?
Everlast – Saving Grace….I have no idea why?
What was your first car?
1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme – Diesel with a wonderfully soft burgundy velour interior.
Have you always wanted to be an engineer?
I’ve been using CAD and computers since I was 16, and started designing when I was in my 20’s, its what I’ve always done, along with managing and utilizing the technology and I still enjoy it today. I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing.
BIG RED DOG Engineering and Consulting is always looking for exceptional candidates to join our team. You’ll join the BIG RED DOG team for two primary reasons – our Culture and our Entrepreneurial approach to running our company. Learn more on our Careers page.