Happy 25th Anniversary to the Incomparable John Pappas!

Today F&R celebrates John Pappas’ 25th year of service! John is a Senior Engineer in the Roanoke office. According to those who know him best, John is: “unforgettable, brilliant, a fountain of knowledge, a mentor, eccentric, and a blast to work with.” In his own words, “I like contributing my education and experience to help come up with solutions for CMT and Geotechnical projects,” he says, “and I just enjoy connecting with our engineers and technicians.”

John tried to retire once, but his coworkers just were not having it. Maybe these stories from them can help explain why:

“I feel lucky to have been able to work with John during my time at F&R.  A brilliant engineer and a bit eccentric, John has a devoted group of clients who trust him completely and believe he walks on water.  Fun fact about John: if you tell him that you are going to visit someplace, he always has a restaurant to recommend.  The only time he failed to deliver a restaurant recommendation is when I went to Iceland last summer, but he did know that McDonalds does not have any locations in Iceland.” ~Clyde A. Simmons III, P.E., Branch Manager

“John Pappas is one of those people who, once you meet him, you will never forget him.  His exuberant personality and boisterous laugh draw you to him.  When you get John started talking, you quickly realize that John is a fountain of knowledge about so many different topics.  He is known far and wide in our industry and you can’t do a project in Rockbridge County without running into someone who had a John story.  Thank you John for all that you have done and all that you are doing.” ~Jessyca B. Woodruff, P.E., Branch Manager

“I had the pleasure of working with John from 98 to 99 in Roanoke when I was a staff Geotechnical Engineer.  He was one of my P.E. mentors, and offered a wealth of knowledge and guidance.  John is an extremely giving and patient mentor; beneath his tough exterior lies a kind heart that genuinely cares for people. John is also a blast to work with!  I never knew what he was going to say next, but the trick was to pop plenty of popcorn every day and sit back for the Pappas show. He never disappointed, neither with his knowledge nor his off-the-wall humor.  John is a character, a one in a million kind of person.  He is an F&R original.” ~Gary C. Pasquarell, Ph.D., P.E., Vice President, Quality and Technical Training

“I first met John Pappas when I was a summer intern in the F&R Roanoke office back in 2004. I quickly found out that John and I were both graduates of the great VMI.  I guess understanding that I should have a strong work ethic, he gave me my first experience with the aviation sector, assigning me to the Charlottesville Airport runway expansion project.  For two weeks of 12 hour days with no shade in the central Virginia July heat, I worked with seasoned F&R staff running everything from nuclear gauge and sand cone tests to speedy moisture analyses.  In so many words, John advised me that “what doesn’t kill ‘ya makes you stronger!”  Thanks to John, I look back on those two weeks as the time in my career when I learned the most about soils field testing.  I appreciate all that he taught me.” ~Paul T. Bryan, P.E., Corporate Director of Business Development

“My 4 hour interview with F&R in 1998 was one of the longest of my life!  That was when I met John Pappas who, through our brief time speaking, impressed me with his knowledge of geotechnical engineering and materials testing.  My discussion with him swayed me to come to work with F&R. Over the years since John has instructed me in the art and science of geotechnical engineering, from how to inspect drilled shafts (caissons) to rock grouting for dam construction. John’s interests vary widely and his taste in music is eclectic to say the least: from the classics to rowdy military marches.  His loud laugh is iconic and recognized all across the county. It has definitely been an honor to work with and come to know John Pappas over the past 23 years.” ~Hoyt B. Alford, III, P.E., Senior Engineer