Jan 16, 2023

FOCUS Spotlight: Jacob Holmes | Site Civil Project Manager

By Focus Engineering In Team No comments

Blazing Trails in the Idaho Office

When Jacob Holmes was asked to move to Idaho and help start a new FOCUS office and team, he jumped at the chance. A trailblazer, Jacob believed it was the perfect way to both advance his career and help move the business forward. Since joining FOCUS in 2016, he has worked with department and firm leaders to develop the skills he needs to be a project manager and open the new Meridian office.

The opportunity drew me in because it’s exciting to be a part of something new,” Jacob says. “I saw it as a chance to test myself, build FOCUS, and prove what I am capable of.”

Motivation and Inspiration

While he didn’t fully know what to expect in moving to Idaho, Jacob knew from past experiences that the opportunity would be rewarding if he put in his best effort. “In general, FOCUS is great because it’s a growth-oriented atmosphere,” he shares. “The company is supportive of each person’s interest in growing, learning, and becoming a leader.” Because a lot is expected at every level, Jacob believes it pushes each team member to become better. “I have a lot of respect for a system that rewards effort regardless of title, position, tenure, or education.”


As a project manager in the Site Civil Department, Jacob has a lot of experience designing single-family residential subdivisions. Moving to Idaho has provided him opportunities to work on multi-family and smaller commercial sites like medical centers, car washes, and mini storage. This past year he’s worked on a large podium apartment building on the site of the 1930s-era Idaho National Guard Armory. The armory building and surrounding property have been a regional landmark for generations. Solving the challenges associated with utilities and elevations, as well as ensuring new systems tie in with existing ones, has been incredibly rewarding.

Figuring Out How Things Work

Jacob’s interest in figuring out how things work has been lifelong. When he was young, he loved taking apart toys, VCRs, and even farm equipment to see how it all fit together. “I thought this would lead to a career as a mechanic, but as I got older, I became interested in physics and thought I’d like to be a teacher,” he remembers. “Eventually I heard about engineering and found that it really scratched my problem-solving itch.” Jacob feels fortunate to have found FOCUS early in his college career as well as received the needed guidance for pursuing the right engineering discipline.


He recognizes it’s easy to get bogged down with the details of drafting and engineering and that’s why he appreciates the emphasis his team places on keeping coworkers, clients, and other stakeholders up to date on the progress of a project. When unexpected challenges arise, Jacob has seen the value of looking creatively at the problem and even having a difficult conversation to find the best solution that works for a FOCUS client.

Jacob feels lucky to have been able to grow in an environment that is constantly pushing him to be better but allows him to make mistakes and learn from them. The support he’s received from managers and coworkers have been invaluable. We’re excited to see what the future holds for him in Idaho!