Reese Leavitt in the news

Reese Leavitt,  President and CEO of Leavitt Engineering, was recently featured in PE (The Magazine for Professional Engineers).

The feature article is reprinted below,
or click to view PDF here

Published by NSPE - December 07

For engineers, there are few things more satisfying in their career than passing the PE exam and becoming licensed. For PEs, applying their first seal and signature and earning engineering licenses in other states are also memorable career achievements.

But Reese Leavitt has gone above and beyond what most have done. If you walk into his office, you'll see one of his walls lined with framed certificates showing that he is licensed in all 50 states, several U.S. territories, and even Canada.

Leavitt is the president and CEO of Leavitt Engineering which is based in Nampa, Idaho, and specializes in structural and civil engineering, surveying, and inspection. The son of a blacksmith who worked hard to provide for his family in the small town of Melba, Idaho, Leavitt was encouraged by his father to be the first in the family to go to college.

Although dreams of being a pilot came before engineering, a sense of practicality and the advice of his wife, who is not fond of flying, prevailed. "It was the best thing I ever did, becoming an engineer," says Leavitt, a Brigham Young University graduate and father of eight.

Leavitt earned his first few licenses while working on projects for Yanke Energy, Inc., in the 1980's because the company conducted projects in several western states. But 1996, the year he received 13 licenses, was the turning point. "That's when I decided that I may as well get licensed in the remaining states, he says. "I started and just couldn't stop."

At the time, Leavitt's firm was doing subcontracting work for a company that had projects in all 50 states and worldwide. He received 12 licenses in 1998, five in 1999, and 14 in 2000. The final count ended at 64 in 2001 when he became licensed in Guam.

The multiple licenses, he says, have given his firm an edge over other companies. "The advantage is that we have been able to help companies that need to do projects in various states and projects that we wouldn't be able to do otherwise." Some of these projects have involved design work on food processing plants and his favorite, power plants.

Leavitt gained most of his licenses via reciprocity, but the unique process to get a few of them stick out in his mind. Alaska requires licensure applicants to take a course in cold-weather engineering, a requirement he fulfilled by taking a week long crash course in Washington. Licensure in Alberta, Canada requires an ethics course that he found interesting. Licenses in New York and Alberta took the longest to get at nine months, he recalls.

One of the most difficult licenses to get was from Puerto Rico. "My Spanish isn't very good," he says, but he got some help from others. "Luckily my wife is learning Spanish, I'm hosting an exchange student from Mexico, and several people in the office speak the language." he says. "I have a lot of interpreters now."

Leavitt is proud of his accomplishment, but maintaining so many licenses is challenging, particularly keeping track of renewals and fulfilling continuing education requirements. "It seems as if I have eight or ten licenses to renew a month," he says.

One thing that has made this task easier for Leavitt has been the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying's Records Program. He highly recommends that anyone with multiple licenses keep a record with NCEES. "once you're registered with NCEES, most states accept their short-form application, and they also maintain letters of references for you, " he says. "They are very good."

At 54, Leavitt is not ready to retire, but he's looking forward to winding down and allowing others in the company to take over more management duties. "I'm just excited as can be to sit in my office and just do the engineering work," says Leavitt, who serves as a Boy Scout leader and is active in his local church.

Leavitt's advice to young engineers: "Any engineer with any initiative shouldn't think about anything else but getting a license, " he says. "That should be the goal for the first four years out of college."

Also In The News

January, 2002

"ASCE member covering all states."

"The January 2002 issue of ASCE News and its article on your remarkable feat of attaining licensure in all 50 U.S. States and territories relays an unprecedented record of personal accomplishment. On behalf of the leadership and members of the National Society of Professional Engineers, it is an honor to send our collective congratulations. You are truly an ideal role model for engineers throughout the country. Again, congratulations on your extraordinary 50+ professional engineering licenses. In all my years as a PE, I don't know of anyone who has even come close to holding that many." -- Daniel D. Clinton, Jr. P.E., NSPE President

Idaho Business Review
October 22, 2001
"Leavitt gets license to practice in Guam."

The Idaho Statesman
October 10, 2001
"Leavitt licensed to practice in 50 states."

Idaho Construction News
October, 2001
Structural engineer licensed in 50 states."

Structural Engineer News
December, 2001
"Idaho engineer earns 63 professional licenses."