Jess S. Haldeman
Jess Haldeman was born in McCall, Idaho, in 1960 where he grew-up with a great love and respect for nature and in particular the Rocky Mountains that surrounded him. During his high school years Haldeman showed an innate talent for math and science portending his future success.
Haldeman attended Boise State in 1979 as a freshman, transferred to Oklahoma to study chemical engineering and in 1981 transferred to the University of Idaho to be closer to his future wife Dana, who was attending Spokane College. They were married in August of 1983.
While at the UI, Haldeman was involved in a National Science Foundation-funded project that involved constructing and monitoring roofs at a range of angles to see which would hold up better during heavy snowfall. Haldeman was excited to participate and always went that extra mile to find the answer to construction problems — even borrowing equipment from his father’s construction company, Haldeman and Williamson. The study went so well that the results are still referenced today in the International Building Code.
In 1985, Haldeman graduated from the UI with a bachelor’s in Civil and Structural Engineering and earned a master’s one year later. During college, Haldeman also enjoyed playing golf and skiing.
After graduation, Haldeman accepted a job with John A. Martin Associates in Las Vegas and began to work on large projects immediately. One of his first challenges was to complete the structural design of a ten-story Bank of America office building in Las Vegas. It was a large project for someone fresh out of college, but Haldeman’s calm nature, determination and strong work ethic made him an instant success. As his reputation and experience grew so did his projects including the renovation of the Golden Nugget Casino and the design of the Mirage and Treasure Island Hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.
Haldeman continued to increase his engineering experience by working many extra hours on large resort projects, such as the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Throughout this journey Haldeman endeared himself to and befriended many people including architects, contractors and owners, building an honest and professional reputation.
In 1995 Haldeman started Lochsa Engineering with close friend and fellow UI CE graduate Mark Hedge. They named the company after a river in north central Idaho to remind them of their Idaho roots and work ethic. Lochsa Engineering designed a high-rise tower at Circus Circus with partner Dave Peterson and continued to grow quickly. Partners Bill Karren and Ted Egerton, a UI civil traffic engineering graduate joined in 1997 and Ken Mize and John Zielinski in 2006.
Throughout the Circus Circus project, Haldeman continued to build friendships with contractors and architects, which in-turn allowed Lochsa to secure impressive projects like the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Projects like the Palms Casino and the Grand Canyon Skywalk have also been added to Locha’s resume. As of today, Lochsa has over 170 employees.
In 2001, Lochsa added a Surveying Department with Glen Davis as a partner and in 2005 opened an office in Boise partnering with Lee Harrison and UI graduate Riley Mahaffey.
During his life Haldeman was a mentor to many — he had a booming voice and a powerful presence. Haldeman passed away in 2007 and will be forever missed. His engineering contributions continue to exist on the Las Vegas skyline. Haldeman and partner Mark Hedge were inducted as Charter Members of the UI’s Academy of Engineers in 2007.