Get to know: GDA Engineers

Starting in March the Chamber of Commerce will spotlight a chamber member each month. This a chance to get to know some of our businesses and the people who run them a little better. If you’re interested in having your business spotlighted in please send an email to [email protected]

Take a moment to get know our August Chamber member spotlight: GDA ENGINEERS builds strong relationships to meet client expectations with consistent, responsive actions providing the best possible value. GDA Engineers in Cody, Wyoming, Heber City, Utah, and Boise, Idaho provide civil engineering, planning, and surveying solutions for our valued clients in Wyoming, Utah, and across the Rocky Mountain Region. GDA Engineers is celebrating over 60 years of successful projects across Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado. Our hometown is Cody, Wyoming, but our backyard is the Mountain West. They have 8 employees in Heber and 36 employees in their three offices combined.

1. How long has your business been operating?
GDA Engineers has been in business since 1953. We have been operating in Heber since 2014.

2. What do you do and how do you specialize in that area? What makes your business unique?
We are a general civil engineering firm that provides engineering, licensed surveying, and planning services to municipalities, and private entities throughout the intermountain west. We specialize in working for municipalities and serve as the town and district engineer as well as planner for several small communities. We provide them with master plan and development reviews as well as assist with the design of water systems, sewer networks, and roadways. Our staff works with communities throughout Utah on their storm water networks and compliance programs.

3. People like to know the story behind how your business got started. What is the story on how and why you started your business?
GDA Engineers began as Graham and Associates in 1953 in Cody, Wyoming by Lee Graham. The following decades saw three successions of ownership and leadership. In 2014, Jeremy McAlister opened the office in Heber after evaluation communities from Idaho to Colorado. The Heber office has grown steadily over the past 3 years. In 2015, Dusty Spomer and Rick Patton added Jeremy Gilb and Jeremy McAlister as partners and the four now represent the next generation of ownership.

4. Are you new to the Heber Valley (in the past 2 years)? If yes, where did you come from previously and what were you doing there? If no, how long have you been here and what do you enjoy about living here?
I have lived in the Heber Valley for over 10 years and enjoy access to mountains and rural lifestyle. I also enjoy having access to larger communities and the abundance of outdoor activities year round.

5. What are the benefits of being a part of the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce?
It has been a great way to meet other businesses in the Valley.

6. Why did you decide to become a member of the chamber?
To become more involved in the community.

7. Who are your clients/customers? Who do you serve?
We serve Municipalities, Federal, State, and Local Government, General Aviation, and Small Hub Airports, and Private Individuals.

8. Share a few sentences about your family and your hobbies outside of work?
In the winter, I enjoy skiing with my 1 and 5-year-old at Sundance. In the summer, we sail on Deer Creek and Strawberry reservoirs, hike, and camp in the mountains. We also run a small farm with cows, chickens, and pigs which consumes most of our free time.

9. What are some of your greatest accomplishments in your professional and personal life?
As a professional engineer I have worked with a number of failing water systems and was able to obtain funding, design, and implement changes to ensure safe, sustainable water to many communities. I also worked hard to become a leader in the storm water field and a certified floodplain manger and enjoy working with communities to make them safer and resistant to flooding risks.

10. What has been your favorite Heber Valley activity?
Learning the finer details of farming and ranching and getting to know others in the Valley doing the same has been, and will continue to be a challenging and fun adventure.

11. What drives you to do what you do for a living?
I enjoy helping people and using my professional skills to make my community a better and safer place.

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: