Brian Haeffner is retired … sort of. He spent 27 years with the Missouri Department of Transportation before deciding to take his leave. He is an avid quail hunter and an amateur photographer, …
Brian Haeffner is retired … sort of. He spent 27 years with the Missouri Department of Transportation before deciding to take his leave. He is an avid quail hunter and an amateur photographer, which is how he spends his spare time. But Haeffner also serves as the engineer for Audrain County, in charge of construction projects, roads, structures, surveying and everything else under the civil engineer umbrella.
1. Do you have a typical day?
No, I wouldn’t say typical. It varies day to day, season to season.
2. What does a county engineer do?
I do everything from drafting to hydraulic design to working with contractors.
3. So there’s a lot to do.
Our roads and bridges guys have a lot to do. And there’s a limited season to get in the ground and work, so they can’t always get to all their tasks. That’s why we bring in contractors.
4. Are you involved in a lot of big projects?
The primary reason the county hired me is to work on the small structures improvement program.
5. What are small structures?
Bridges are anything over 20 feet in span according to the federal government. They are eligible for federal funds and the county has been effective in using those funds. We have good bridges. Nineteen feet 11 inches, the county is on its own. A sales tax funds this program.
6. How many small structures are there?
Small structures were inventoried before I got here, but every now and then we’ll come across one they didn’t find. There are over 600.
7. Do you find places to hunt quail while you’re out working?
I see quail when I’m out on the road. Getting permission to hunt is a different story.
8. What makes a good bird dog?
Most of it is breeding. The good ones are really, really good. For me, training is far down the list. It’s their nose, their temperament, the natural instincts that are bred into them.
9. How did you develop an eye for photography?
I don’t know. That’s instinct, too. I don’t know that I have a sophisticated eye, but I enjoy it.
10. You do know this doesn’t count as retirement, right?
Well, you need to find something you enjoy doing and I enjoy this – the service aspect, making sure the county has good roads, the variety. On a day when it’s zero out I can stay in the office. When it’s 70 I can go out in the field. It’s retirement, but I’m still doing something I enjoy.
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