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Keith Appenzeller

New Position: President, King Engineering Associates, Tampa. Previous Position: Executive vice president, King Engineering Associates, Tampa

By Times Staff Writer
Published February 7, 2005

Although he has held the title of president at King Engineering Associates since Jan. 1, Keith Appenzeller said he is in a transition process with the new position. He's working more as chief operating officer, he said, after 10 years as executive vice president.

"I get involved with the front end of a lot of projects - meeting with clients and determining what scope of service we can provide them; work out contracts for services; help develop a work plan."

King Engineering has a business development manager to oversee most of the day-to-day operations. "It allows engineers to actually be involved in engineering throughout the day," he said.

Appenzeller said the company "is in an ownership transition. We have brought new employees in as stockholders and board members. The past president is still chair of the board of directors. The plan here is for me to transition into this role as president over time."

Born in Germany, Appenzeller's family moved to a farm near Perry, Iowa, where he grew up. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in engineering. He started working for Mid Valley Construction in Houston as a civil engineer. The company relocated Appenzeller to Bradenton, and once he had a taste of scuba diving and grouper fishing, he said, he knew he wanted to stay in Florida.

He worked as a civil engineer for Pinellas County from 1978 to 1980, when he joined a consulting firm in Miami but worked out of Clearwater. In 1985, wanting to stay in Clearwater, Appenzeller co-founded a civil engineering and land surveying firm, Appenzeller, Boyd & Zarra. In 1991, his firm merged with King Engineering Associates, where he has worked since.

King Engineering, founded in 1977, has been involved in a number of Tampa Bay area projects, including the Pinellas Trail, Hillsborough County's solid waste transfer station and, currently, Wire Creek Ranch in Pasco County, a 5,000-acre residential and retail development.

"So many aspects of what goes on every day involves civil engineering," Appenzeller said. "We read every day about water problems, transportation problems, new developments, projects being rezoned." All involve civil engineering.

The job is a good fit, Appenzeller said, "because of my math and science interests. Also my love of being outside.

"No day is like every other day," he said. "I enjoy solving problems, and every day there are engineering problems and business management problems that stare you in the face. My dad instilled a work ethic that has become a kind of curse: I feel like if I'm not working, I feel guilty."

Appenzeller is a past president and life member of the board of directors of the Pasco County Builders Association. He also is chairman of the Pasco County Economic Development Council.

An avid jogger, Appenzeller, 52, said he runs several days a week, typically 25 to 30 miles a week. He and his wife, Susan, have two children, Dustin, 19, and Dylan, 13. They live in an unincorporated part of northern Pinellas County on 5 acres near the Brooker Creek Preserve. "Most of my neighbors have horses," Appenzeller said. "We have llamas."

Appenzeller and his wife visit Colorado frequently to hike and camp. On one trip, they hiked with llamas and decided to bring some to their home in Pinellas about six years ago.

"We started with two," he said. "Now we have five. We're breeding them and they're pets."

[Last modified February 7, 2005, 04:27:03]

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