Having been raised in Arizona, and driven on every state route crisscrossing Arizona, Andrew Smigielski has a deep relationship with this place he calls home.

Smigielski earned degrees from both the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, and “maybe one day from (Northern Arizona University), but who knows,” he says.

Smigielski got his first job from at the Arizona Department of Transportation, and then worked under a mentor of his at Glendale’s transportation department.

After working with the city for some time, and with many people in line ahead of him for a promotion, due to seniority, Smigielski was told to find a new job to earn experience.

“I wasn’t fired, but I was pushed out the door and went into the consulting world,” he says. His boss even helped him pick his next career path.

Smigielski would work for a few firms before starting Southwest Traffic Engineering, something he always considered doing.

13 years after starting his business, he is happily leading a “young and exciting staff.” 

Since the Great Recession, Smigielski has seen many great engineers retire. With his leadership role, Smigielski says he works to act as a mentor for his employees, passing down history and knowledge of projects.

“I had a wonderful mentor, and I’m trying to be a good mentor as well,” he says.

One of the biggest challenges he and his company faces is making sure they’re brought on to a project sooner, rather than later. There are times when developers won’t give a traffic engineer a call until the project is near the finish line. But issues may arise if he’s coming late to the game, Smigielski explains, which costs more and delays the schedule.

When he isn’t hard at work, Smigielski enjoys spending some time in the kitchen.

“I like food and it brings family and friends together. It’s great to invite someone to help, and you can have them be in your sphere, in the task you’re doing. It provides a wonderful way to be with your friends and family,” Smigielski says.