ASCE American Society of Civil Engineers Inland Empire Section

Jim Harakas - Distinguished Career 2016

Jim Harakas, PE, LG, LEG, Senior Geotechnical Principal Born in Chicago, Illinois, Jim was drafted to the US Army in 1969. Following his service, he graduated from Michigan State with his bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. Jim then headed west and attended the University of Washington where he earned his master of science in civil engineering, specializing in geotechnical engineering.


He passed his Washington PE exam in 1979. He is a registered professional engineer in six states and licensed engineering geologist in Washington State. His career started as a geotechnical engineer at Dames and Moore, where he stayed for 14 years (1974-1988). In 1988, he joined Applied Geotechnology (AGI) now CDM for three years. Jim joined GeoEngineers in 1991 to open the Spokane office and guided the successful acquisition of Gifford Consultants in 1999. His first trip to Spokane was for the 1974 World's Fair. Ironically, he ends his successful career working on the redevelopment of Riverfront Park, where the fair was hosted.


In September 2015, Jim Harakas retired as a Senior Principal from GeoEngineers after 24 outstanding years. His accomplishments and devotion to the engineering profession benefitted the staff and clients he worked with and mentored. Jim was involved in various capacities on over 3,400 projects while at GeoEngineers, and served on GeoEngineers' board of directors for 11 of his 24 years. Over his career, he also served on multiple boards as a director, including  ACEC Washington, ASCE Spokane Board, ASCE Seattle and AGI.


Some of his notable projects include: Monroe Street Bridge Rehabilitation, Spokane County Water Reclamation Facility, and Multiple Buildings on Gonzaga, Eastern and WSU Spokane campus.  Despite the fact that Jim is a husky at heart, all of the WSU buildings he worked on are still standing.


When asked, Jim shared that his biggest career accomplishments included opening and building up the Spokane GeoEngineers office and helping build the AGI team from 25 staff to 100 staff in his short three-year stint.


His advice for his colleagues and the future workforce: "When in doubt, go by the book." - Jim Harakas

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