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Tony Trotter is the newest member of the city engineering staff in Fort Dodge, but he had knowledge of many of the local infrastructure projects well before his first day on the job.

Trotter is a St. Edmond High School graduate who began his engineering career nine years ago with McClure Engineering Co., which has an office in the city.

He began working last week as the project manager in the office of City Engineer Chad Schaeffer.

”The opportunities in Fort Dodge are exciting, I believe,” Trotter said Friday.

In his new role, he’ll work with city staffers, consulting engineers and contractors to manage construction projects.

Because he is a licensed professional engineer, he will do the engineering for some projects himself.

For the last three years, he worked in the Utilities Division for the city of Cedar Rapids. Previously, he worked for Howard R. Green Co., of Cedar Rapids, and McClure Engineering Co. in Fort Dodge.

He recalled that he started doing land surveying when he was 15. He said that while he was in high school, he did some of the construction staking work needed for the construction of four-lane U.S. Highway 20 between Webster City and Fort Dodge.

During his junior year of high school, Trotter constructed a working model of a trickling filter, which is a significant component of a wastewater treatment plant, for a science class project. The filter was made in a big trash can and was powered by a fish tank pump. Because his father, Mike Trotter, worked for McClure Engineering Co., he was able to get some of the microbes used in the city’s wastewater treatment plant to clean the water. He was also able to obtain some wastewater that was destined for the plant. After he got the model running, he displayed glass containers filled with water in various stages of treatment, ranging from dirty water to water that looked like someone could drink it.

”It’s pretty cool how you can grow bacteria that will consume the waste constituents in the water and clean the water,” he said.

His father had an impact on his decision to enter the engineering profession, he said. But he was also attracted to the kind of problem-solving that engineers do.

”There are hardly ever two situations that have the same solution,” Trotter said. ”The thought process that is involved in finding those solutions is intriguing to me and I enjoy that.”

Trotter graduated from St. Edmond High School in 1992. He went to Iowa State University in Ames with the initial goal of studying meteorology.

He decided that meteorology wasn’t for him, and left college to enlist in the U.S. Air Force. For most of his four-year military career, he was assigned to the 909th Air Refueling Squadron stationed at Kadena Air Base in Japan. He flew aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker and operated a long boom at the plane’s tail through which fuel was pumped into other planes.

Upon being discharged from the Air Force, Trotter studied for one semester at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge. He then returned to Iowa State University and earned a bachelor’s degree with emphasis on environmental engineering.

Trotter is filling a vacancy created when Scott Meinders resigned in January to become the Winnebago County engineer.

He said there will not be any conflicts of interest between his new job and his previous one with McClure Engineering Co. He added that his father no longer has an ownership stake in that company, and has a reduced workload.