Ken Risley, the Engineer Designer, has operated in the residential and commercial design and construction industry in Florida since 1976. He is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE32668) with emphasis in building, architectural and structural engineering; is a graduate of University of Florida School of Engineering and holds a State General Contractor Certification (CGC010458). He also holds the NCEES MLE (Model Law Engineer) designation which allows for easy registration through the U.S.A.
Ken was born in Tampa, as was his father (Guy 1928) and his grandfather (Captain Pete 1897 – a sea captain). Though born in Tampa Ken grew up in different areas of the United States, including Alaska, California, Washington DC, Ann Arbor Michigan and Dayton, Ohio (where he spent most of his high school years). He spent a year living on, rebuilding and sailing a 50 foot wooden yawl rigged sailboat. There he learned many skills as a ship’s carpenter, sailor, survivor and appreciator of other styles of living.
As a young man he won a full scholarship to obtain his engineering degree at University of Florida. During those days he backpacked through Europe, was a spelunker, an avid Scuba Diver (certified in 1969), earned his pilot’s license, and was an officer and manager of a 90 person co-op in Gainesville, Florida where he lived. He moved to the Tampa Bay area an raised a family there as he pursued his design and construction career.
As a Design/Builder for numerous years, he has gained significant experience combining his skills as a designer with the realities of construction. He has personally designed and built commercial structures of numerous and varied types and styles and residential projects of a wide variety.
He is NOT an “ivory tower” designer devoid of real-world experience. His days were spend on a drafting board (in the old days), in front of a computer and out in the field among the clients, the workers and the inspectors.
“I design not only with an eye for aesthetics, but also with a keen awareness of how it will be built – of what the subcontractors might ask and what will they expect to see in the plans.“, Ken says.
Today he focuses his professional skills as the Engineer Designer on residential and commercial engineering and design.
“The permitting agencies, since the Code change of March 1, 2002, and again in October 2005 and December 2006 (and most recently in March 2012), are requiring a great deal in their plans. Builders and owners are faced today with a more complicated permitting process. In the mid 70′s and early 80′s I could literally take my house plans to the County, and walk out with a complete building permit in about 2 hours. This was in Hillsborough County, one of the larger counties in Florida. I would stand there while the plans examiner reviewed the plans, asked a few questions, and signed-off. Today that sounds like science fiction. Builders and owners now face an incredibly complex process and must provide extensive information on the plans. As a result I focus my professional attention onto helping builders and owners deal with this facet of the process.“
This is done by providing excellent and thorough design and construction drawings ready for permitting and ready to build.
Professionally, he has served as State-Chairman of Florida Engineers in Construction, State -Chairman of the Florida Engineering Professional Development Committee, Member of the Tampa Board of Realtors. As a Member of Florida Engineering Society, National Society of Professional Engineers, the Florida Energy Commission, he was selected as outstanding young engineer for Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties in 1986 and 1987. He served as Chairman of the Hillsborough County Code Enforcement Board for six years.
Aside from his engineering/design activities, he is an owner of a preschool in Tampa which he expanded into a 125 student facility. This facility, today, operates under the direction of a partner and staff. Additionally he is owns, with a partner, a building company called Premier Design and Construction which operates in Central Florida. “After leaving the construction field to pursue design and engineering and moving to Central Florida I was talked into getting back into the building business. I did it, mainly, to help keep my hands on the pulse of the field. There is no substitute, experience-wise, for dealing with the men and women in the field who are getting the construction job done. These experiences add to the skills of Design and Engineering”.
Personally, Ken is a jazz musician, an avid pilot, and Extra Class Ham operator (W8VD) along with numerous other interests. As a pilot, he has flown patients with special needs to medical facilities for treatment throughout Florida and Southeast U.S. as part of the Angel Flights program. To promote aviation, he has introduced children to aviation by giving them their first flights as Young Eagles; part of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).
Ken and his wife, Kimberly, live in an aviation community in Central Florida (in an airport home he designed and built); sons, David and Bryan, are 33 and 30 respectively. David owns PC Media, PC Mechanic, and is a professional blogger and teaches people how to harness the internet for fun and profit. He and his wife Malika, and Ken’s grandkids, Elyanna and Nathan, live in Tampa. Bryan is an former airline pilot who left that position to finish graduate studies in accounting and is now a CPA and Instructor Pilot; he lives in Lakeland.
Ken’s personal, non-business website is: KenRisley.Com