Anyone, 5 years of age and older, is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Find your nearest vaccination location at vaccines.gov.

Back to Blog

Employee Spotlight Mike Stirk, Bureau Chief of Innovative Project Delivery

Mike Stirk joined the team Dec. 1 as bureau chief of Innovative Project Delivery. He is charged with implementing alternate project delivery at IDOT based on the state of Illinois passing design-build legislation in 2022.

Here are some of his thoughts about his job and life outside of IDOT.

What does your job entail?

My responsibilities include overseeing the various administrative efforts to develop manuals, solicit input from IDOT and industry leaders, implement training, and assist with funding scenarios. My job is building consensus around innovation.

What’s the most important impact of your work?

Innovation is what drives progress and new ideas. A successful program will provide the people of Illinois with a wider range of project delivery alternatives that can be tailored to the appropriate project, in the appropriate place, under perhaps unique constraints.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

I enjoy working with the leaders at IDOT, whose vast experience is critical to developing a meaningful complement to traditional design-bid-build project delivery. There are so many talented and creative people in our industry. Working with them is the best part.

Anything to highlight?

I will be meeting with as many IDOT staff as practical over the next several weeks to discuss the merits, challenges and opportunities that design-build can provide.

Receiving feedback from IDOT’s internal leaders and external industry leaders is critical in building support. Developing the program manual and working with IDOT leadership to develop a multi-year plan that includes a pilot project in 2023 is exciting. The program will not truly be real until a project is in the works.

What prepared you for your current role?

I have a bachelor’s in civil engineering with an environmental focus and have focused on projects that involve complex coordination with stakeholders across multidisciplinary technical solutions. I very much enjoy the construction side of our industry and have been fortunate to have been involved with several successful alternate delivery projects including highways, stormwater management and marine infrastructure while working in the consulting world.

How do you contribute to your profession?

I have contributed to various committees over the years to develop legislation to support design-build. It was a long road, but we got through passage of the Innovative Project Delivery bill last year. I also have a strong commitment to helping grow the careers of our newer industry members. Providing people with opportunities to grow and be part of lasting infrastructure improvements is very satisfying.

What do you like to do outside the office?

I enjoy the outdoors very much and get to spend some time in the Northwoods of Wisconsin with family at our cabin. Golf has been meaningful in my life. I grew up next to a golf course and spent most of my youth as a caddy looping two bags at a time around 18 holes. I loved being outside and was exposed to the personalities of the professional world, working for doctors, lawyers and businesspeople. I play the game and occasionally do OK at it. I have a small vintage boat (1963 Lyman wooden runabout) that I ply the waters of Wisconsin in with a fishing rod and beverages.

We heard you are a musician and artist?

When I was a younger man, as the saying goes. I have played music since my teens and have been fortunate to have met wonderful musicians over the years. I’ve written songs and recorded records with various groups in Boston and Chicago and got to travel across the states and also a few trips to Europe performing. Mostly in the alternative rock category. It all provided a unique view of the world and some good stories to tell. I will be looking into new opportunities but dragging guitars and amplifiers into and out of clubs late at night is beginning to lose its charm. I recently played a benefit at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago to benefit the cultural institution.

What do you play?

I’m self-taught and play a variety of instruments including the guitar, the bass, the ukulele and the piano.

Anything else you’d like people to know about you?

I like making my job fun, and I consider this opportunity at IDOT to be a defining moment in my career.