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Encorus Group Staff Spotlight: Joe Lowry, PE

By August 9, 2023No Comments5 min read

Joe Lowry, PE, joined the Encorus team twenty years ago this month.  He has worn many hats over the years, first as an AutoCAD drafter, then as a mechanical engineer, and is currently the President of the company.  Let’s get to know him a little better!

How did you get started in your career?
My path to becoming the President of Encorus has been a meandering one.

When I was 16 I started working part-time after school as an AutoCAD drafter. The founder of RJR Engineering (now called Encorus Group) hired me through the recommendation of a high school teacher because I knew how to use AutoCAD.

Throughout college I had quite a few jobs: facilities cleaner, warehouse stocker, tutor, ceramics glazer, and pool salesman. I was also invited back to RJR Engineering during summer breaks to do my co-ops as a drafter and junior engineer.

After I graduated with an engineering degree, I was hired as a full-time mechanical engineer. I like knowing a little bit about everything, so I also took the opportunity to briefly work with a land surveying firm, and became a survey rodman through the local Operating Engineers union. I was grateful for the experience but ultimately went back to being a mechanical engineer and project manager. I was able to work on very interesting projects with a lot of extremely talented people, and enjoyed being given a high level of responsibility for getting things done. Around this time I also joined the Army National Guard and spent six years as a part-time All-Source Intelligence Analyst, while continuing to work as an engineer.

Eventually I had enough experience to become a licensed Professional Engineer. Soon after becoming licensed, when I was about 27 years old, I made a pitch to the current President of the company. I told him that I would like the opportunity to purchase his portion of the company and take over as President. We came to an agreement and carefully made the transition, knowing that only 30% of small businesses survive their first change in ownership. Since that time the company has evolved quite a bit, and my role has changed from being a technical engineer to a strategic CEO type of position.

So, I guess you can say that many things led me to, and also away from, Encorus as I had the flexibility to try new things.

Have you had a mentor in your career, and what have you learned from them?
I have had a lot of obvious mentors in my lifetime, but I can think of one person that I didn’t appreciate as being one until reflecting on it many years later.

When I was about 10 years old, I was enrolled in karate classes for a few years. When I started, I was a very small kid. Not very athletic, and without much self-confidence. On the first day a man named Arthur, or “Art” as I called him, was helping teach the class. For some reason he took me under his wing and patiently spent a lot of extra one-on-one time with me to make sure I understood the WHY behind everything we learned. He taught me discipline through repetition. He did a great job of meeting me where I was, and challenged me without overwhelming.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the greatest thing I learned from Art was the importance and power of relying on yourself. Since that experience I’ve become a very self-motivated and self-confident person. I know the value of having a good team, but I also believe in my own ability to find a way through any challenge.

Recommend a great book / podcast / movie / TV show.
I just finished rereading the “Lightbringer” book series [by Brent Weeks]. If you enjoy fantasy stories with a strong connection to the real world, it will blow your mind with all of the tangled intricacies.

The book “The Way of a Peaceful Warrior” [by Dan Millman] also resonated with me. It’s a semi-fictional story full of life lessons to be extrapolated; and a very easy read.

What are three words that describe your personality?
Growth-oriented, curious, and open-minded.

What was your first paying job, and would you go back to it if you could?
I’ve had a lot of different jobs, but I would consider my first to be mowing lawns for neighbors when I was about 13 or 14 years old.

It started with push mowing my own lawn, then my Grandma’s down the street. Eventually I added four more neighboring lawns, and had the start of a lawn mowing enterprise.

I still really enjoy mowing my own lawn so I could see a scenario where I went back to that later in life. It’s one of those everyday tasks that can be as complex, or as simple, as you want it to be. Whenever I get done mowing the lawn it’s a satisfying “ahhh” type of moment. There are also power tools involved, which never hurts.