Meet Foster Popken, the newest member of our Structural Department!


Q: Tell us a bit about yourself…

Foster: I grew up in Alta Vista, IA on my family’s organic dairy farm. Haying was probably my favorite work at the time because the entire family could be involved. After high school at New Hampton where I was involved in music, drama and trap shooting, I attended Dort University for a civil and environmental engineering degree. I remained in music, as well as being a part of Dort’s wind symphony, choirs, and leading a swing dance club.

Q: Why did you want to become an Engineer?

Foster: Originally, I wanted to be a paleontologist so I could continue my interest in dinosaurs, but as I went through high school, I was advised by my teachers that I would likely be good at engineering. As I developed in my faith, I realized how much of an impact I could make on others within this career, so it’s been a faith walk ever since.

Q: What piece of advice would you give someone choosing the same career?

Foster: I am just an ordinary Iowa farm kid! You can do anything you set your mind to. Be diligent and caring in your training, and God gives lots of grace to the humble!

Q: Where is the last place you’ve traveled and what did you find interesting about it?

Foster: I traveled to Cape Town, South Africa right before the pandemic, and the cultural experience was fascinating. It was really wonderful to meet a variety of people and see their perspectives on the world.

Q: Are you related (or distantly related) to anyone famous?

Foster: My great grandfather’s cousin is Jose Paciano Laurel, who was the President of the Philippines during World War II.

Q: What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top in?

Foster: While on a band tour, I had the opportunity to go up the Olympiaturm, a tower in Munich that was built for the Olympics.

Q: Why did you decide to join the Klingner team?

Foster: I really enjoyed my structures classes in college and when I learned that Klingner had a strong structural department, they became one of my top employer choices. Also, having a location in Pella also played a very large role in my decision.