Vice President, Senior Water Resources Engineer
United States of America
Whether it was growing up near Brainerd with the Mississippi River in her backyard, playing in the Watab Creek near her grandparents’ home, or navigating the giant waves and endless sandbars at the family’s cabin on Lake Winnibigoshish, many of Janna Kieffer’s fondest childhood memories are related to water. Yet water engineering wasn’t what she entered college to study. “I originally wanted to be an environmental lawyer,” said Janna, “but someone suggested that I get an engineering background first. It turned out I liked that better.” A graduate of the Colorado School of Mines, Janna found her true interest—protecting water—as an intern for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Denver, Colorado. From there, she pursued a civil engineering master’s degree in Mississippi with a fellowship that involved modeling a river system and its nutrient contributions to the Gulf of Mexico. That, in turn, led her to Barr. “I enjoy driving around town knowing that I’ve had a role in improving the lakes and streams,” said Janna. “Getting to know the water resources within the community is rewarding. I talk about it with my kids.” And that role is expanding statewide through her participation in the development of the Minimal Impact Design Standards (MIDS), a new stormwater management standard from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. “It’s been fun and challenging to think critically about new techniques to manage stormwater,” said Janna. “It requires complex analysis and modeling to measure the impact of low-impact development, while also simplifying the technical information so that the workgroup can use it to make decisions.” Conveying technical information to non-technical audiences is right up her alley. “I work a lot with public clients like watershed districts and cities, some that aren’t staffed by engineers,” said Janna. “I especially enjoy the client interaction where I not only need to distill the technical information, but also communicate it in a way that is interesting.” When she’s not tackling that challenge, she swims and fishes with her daughter and son, spends time with her family, and enjoys a book with her local book club. Last year, she tried her hand at kayaking and continues to look for new opportunities for her and her family to enjoy the outdoors.
Water Resource Science