WASHINGTON AND HOLMES COUNTIES – Making his mark one project at a time is just what County Engineer Cliff Knauer does every day.
Knauer, a civil engineer, is employed by Dewberry Engineers and has been the engineer of record for Washington County since 1998 and Holmes County since 2010.
To say that he is busy is a massive understatement. Between never ending emails and non-stop phone calls, Knauer not only designs roads, bridges, buildings, and boat ramps, he also looks for grant opportunities that each county can take advantage of to improve all of the things listed above.
A native of Miami, Knauer relocated to Northwest Florida in 1987 to pursue his degree in Civil Engineering from Florida State University in 1992. He began his tenure with Washington County just six short years later.
Knauer says he wants to leave something behind that future generations will see and use.
“It is cool to leave things behind you after death,” he said. “Things that I have designed will be used by future generations far into the future, its really cool to know that.”
Some of Knauer’s favorite projects in each county have had great environmental improvements, such as, Holmes County’s Northride Lane paving project and the dock built at Hightower Springs in Vernon.
Northride Lane saw much of the clay from the previous dirt road washing into the wetlands when it would rain. Knauer designed a retention pond at the end of the road to catch the run off which made a large impact on the health of the wetlands.
Hightower Springs is no longer filling up with clay and creek water from big ruts that had been worn into the ground from visitors walking between the boat ramp and spring for many years. The spring has been cleaned out and is now so clear that the spring itself can be seen bubbling under the water.
Knauer says he owes his success to finding funding for the counties to complete projects.
“I’ve found the key to my success is chasing, finding and getting funding for each county I work with to complete projects,” he said.
Knauer not only works with Washington and Holmes Counties, he is also the engineer of record for Walton County, the Towns of Wausau, Defuniak Springs and Freeport.
When Knauer isn’t busy working on all of his many projects, he is an active father of two, daughter Emma, 13 and son Jake, 7. His after work activities include playing with his band and fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.
"A Day in the Life" is a series meant to highlight the behind-the-scenes work that makes each role served in our community vital to its success. Each month in this spot, we hope to give an insight into a profession or passion that helps celebrate the often unnoticed and unsung efforts of those who often make the largest difference. To submit story ideas, email Diane Robinson at email@example.com.