Editorial: 04.13.2022

Joel Richardson Builds His Civil Engineering Career at Castle

joel richardson

Since joining Castle’s civil design-build team just over a year ago, Joel Richardson, P.E., has hit the ground running.    

His first day on the job, Richardson jumped in to help his new teammates complete a major construction documents submission for phase three of the BJC Campus Renewal Project. “The submission was about 70% or 80% complete and enormously complex, so I was just trying to navigate it all and be a valuable contributor to the group,” he says.

That experience served as a valuable introduction to Castle for Richardson, who spent the first part of his career working as a surveyor, survey manager, CAD drafter and estimating assistant.

“I had been using Autodesk Civil 3D for a decade, but not the way that a civil engineer uses the software,” he says. “The Castle team puts files together like somebody would assemble a Swiss watch. The complex layering of information was a real eye opener.”

About a month into his Castle tenure, Richardson took — and passed — the Principles and Practice of Engineering (P.E.) exam to become a licensed professional engineer. It was an important milestone in a civil engineering career Richardson began pursuing in 2007 while employed as a surveyor for a local civil contractor. He earned an associate degree from St. Louis Community College, then completed a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the joint engineering program offered by the University of Missouri–St. Louis and Washington University in St. Louis.

“I always excelled at drawing and math, so civil engineering just made sense,” he says. “I had some engineer mentors who encouraged me to get my degree. And it was a long, challenging journey.”

Building a Civil Engineer Career from the Ground Up

After finishing his degree, Richardson needed to complete four years of relevant work experience before he was eligible to take the P.E. exam. In early 2021, he saw a LinkedIn post announcing a civil designer position at Castle. So he reached out to Castle Project Director Brian Carlson—a former colleague—to learn more.

“Brian said joining Castle was the best decision he'd ever made,” he says. “I knew Brian was a pretty straight shooter and wouldn't say that if it wasn't true. So I decided to make the move.”

And he hasn’t looked back.

“I've never worked with such a concentration of intelligent, hardworking and amazing people before,” Richardson says. “Everyone is extremely talented, smart and easy to work with.”

What It's Like Working at Castle

He also enjoys the laid-back work environment. “Crunch time happens, but on most days, I accomplish what I need to accomplish and still get home for dinner, which is a huge bonus.”

Richardson’s current project work includes the sitework design for a restaurant, pub, taproom and expansive outdoor space for 4 Hands Brewing in an historic building in Kirkwood. He’s also involved in a seven-story mixed-use apartment building at 1901 Washington Avenue and the Veterans Community Project in downtown St. Louis.

“Every day is a new learning experience,” he says.

Richardson and his wife, Lindsey, have two daughters: 6-year-old Hazel and 2-year-old Eliza. They live in the Clifton Heights neighborhood of South City.

Having two young kids doesn’t leave much time for hobbies, but Richardson enjoys making memories with his daughters. “About once a month, I pull out my old guitar and the girls break out the tambourines and drums,” he says.

He also has a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle that serves as weekend transportation and is on his long-term schedule for restoration.


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