Paul Beebe, P.E., currently serves as the Director of Transportation and Traffic at Cannon & Cannon. And while he brings his vast knowledge and years of experience in the engineering field to the team, there is always a man behind the job description and the resume.
Paul’s journey towards the field of engineering began not with buildings, but with airplanes. He grew up on Air Force Bases where he says that he had the opportunity to see and experience events that gave him a deep passion for aviation. So much so that he hoped he might be able to make a career out of it. However, at the end of the Vietnam War, the community of aviation was flooded with veterans returning home from the war, forcing him to turn his passion elsewhere. Lucky for Cannon & Cannon, Paul started working for an engineering firm with the survey crew following his high school graduation. He fell in love with it and thus, his passion was re-directed. He decided to continue his education and study Civil Engineering at the University of Tennessee. He would land among his father, both grandfathers, brother, and several cousins who also pursued careers in engineering.
Paul went on to serve for 35 years with the Tennessee Department of Transportation where he worked in the Construction, Traffic, and Design offices. He brings his managerial experience as well as deep-seated passion for what he does with him to Cannon & Cannon. Paul’s history speaks for itself, but Paul also had a few things to say about both his career and about himself. Some you might know, and others you may not…welcome to the Cannon & Cannon family, Paul.
What could we find you doing on a Saturday afternoon?
I’ve had the opportunity to live my passion of aviation through my son who is a corporate pilot, my daughter-in-law who is the Manager of the Knoxville Flight School and my grandson who has been piloting airplanes since he was eight years old. Many of my afternoons are spent at the glider port in Benton, Tennessee or Knoxville’s Downtown Island Home Airport. This is where I developed a relationship with Cannon & Cannon’s Survey Director, Bob Lusby, who is a pilot.
What do you enjoy most about working at Cannon & Cannon?
The engineering work, the family atmosphere, the Cannon’s and the great people at Cannon & Cannon. I spent almost 35 years with the Tennessee Department of Transportation and many of those years were spent managing consultant design projects. It was always a pleasure partnering with Cannon & Cannon on these projects because they were always professional and easy to work with.
What do you love most about what you do?
I get to work with Mike Waller.
What have been some engineering feats that you have seen in your lifetime?
In East Tennessee, the Cumberland Gap tunnel is the first to come to mind, I had the opportunity to tour this project while under construction. The years spent at TDOT I witnessed and participated in many projects such as the massive landslide that occurred on Interstate 75 several years ago and it’s reconstruction. The construction of work labeled SmartFix 40, this was a massive project to correct congestion and roadway deficiencies which required Interstate 40 to be closed for nearly a year.
How do you see your role as an engineer as an integral part of serving the community?
I like making a positive difference in this community and East Tennessee and have been allowed to do so with my years of service at TDOT and now Cannon & Cannon.
Is there a type of project that you especially enjoy working on?
I love working on projects that require creative geometrics to solve congestion issues, weaving problems and reducing crash history. Examples of these type projects were the widening of Interstate 40 westbound between Pellississippi Parkway and the extension of the Lovell Road ramp to southbound Pellississippi Parkway. But there are many others.
What is one fact that your co-workers might not know about you?
My mother was a High School art teacher, and since I had artist ability she had hoped I would pursue a career as an artist.