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The difference in typography has caused a few challenges for Logan Dunn since he gave up his gig with a private engineering firm in Peoria, Illinois and joined the City of Bristol, Tennessee a few weeks ago. But the hills and mountains that sometimes create issues in his chosen profession are also one of the things he loves most about living in the region.
“I definitely missed the mountains because everything in Peoria is so flat,” he said. “And it’s also great to be close to family.”
Logan grew up in Mountain City, graduating from Johnson County High School before deciding to continue his family’s tradition of military service. His father, an Army veteran who served in Iraq during Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom, suggested his son consider the Air Force or Coast Guard. After weighing his options, Logan decided he was better suited for the water than air.
He soon found himself aboard USCGC Escanaba, patrolling the waters of New England while enforcing fishing regulations. His career as a Boatswain’s Mate Third Class also took him to Key West, where he was charged with enforcing immigration laws, and then Mississippi, where he performed search and rescue duties. When he left the Coast Guard, he used the G.I. Bill to enroll at Iowa State University, graduating four years later with a degree in civil engineering. He chose the field of engineering, he joked, because he always enjoyed “playing with Legos.”
His first job allowed him to work closely with the Illinois Department of Transportation on an interstate reconstruction project. He learned a great deal, he said, but found the long hours weren’t always conducive to his role as a husband and father. “When the contractor’s there, you’re there,” he said. “I had a lot of long days.”
In mid-January, he left his job in Peoria and accepted a position as Bristol’s Civil Engineer.
Now four weeks into his new job, he has been working closely with Director of Engineering Brian Ramsey on utility relocations associated with the East Cedar Street construction project, he said, and familiarizing himself with other ongoing and upcoming projects.
“I’m excited to have a good crew to work with and learn from,” he said. “I think I’m going to enjoy the flexibility of working in the office some days and being in the field at other times.”
When he’s not working, Logan is busy with his young family. He and his wife, Deidre, both grew up in Johnson County and became friends while performing in community theater productions. He appeared on stage in “A Country Christmas Carol,” “Maggie Flynn,” and “Father of the Bride.” It wasn’t until he had moved to Boston, however, that he and Deidre began dating.
They married soon after he left the military and are now parents to a 3-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter. When his kids get a little older, he’d like to introduce them to community theater, too, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, an activity he and his father enjoyed doing together a few years back.
Logan and his family are now living with his grandmother but are set to finalize the purchase of a new home in a few weeks. That will give them each more room to breathe, but they still plan to spend a great deal of time with family members who live in the area. His wife’s identical twin sister also has two toddlers, he said, so it will be nice for the four cousins to grow up together.
He has a standing appointment with friends every Saturday, too, converging online for a spirited game of Dungeons and Dragons, a fantasy role-playing game that he was introduced to in college. Now that he’s back in the area, he’d also like to spend some time hiking along the Appalachian Trail, and, before too long, to pursue a license as a Professional Engineer.
“I’ll have to gain some additional experience first and then take the PE, a really difficult test,” he explained.
Shout out to Civil Engineer Logan Dunn, who left Northeast Tennessee after high school to pursue a military career and a college degree before coming home to the region with his young family. He’s another great example of #BristolAtWork.