Our staff is highly skilled and capable of designing most projects in-house without the use of expensive sub-consultants.  When designing a project we constantly ask the following questions: "Is there a better way that may cost less?" and "Is it easy to construct?".

John Smolen, P.E., P.S.
Founder and Owner

John founded SEL after nearly 30 years as the Ashtabula county engineer.  His background of engineering principles and experience gained at the county are part of the reason clients have chosen to trust Smolen Engineering with their design projects.  John is internationally known as one of the pre-eminent experts in the field of design, construction and maintenance of timber covered bridges.

Andrew Lueders, E.I.
Design Engineer

An American expatriate civil engineering graduate of Warsaw (Poland) University of Technology, Andrew is experienced at structural repairs for timber covered bridges and estimating construction costs.  His education included design classes focused on timber, steel, concrete structures, structural design and analysis.

Charity Slifka
Office Manager

A native of Boulder, Colorado, Charity studied pre-medicine at Wright State University, but crafted her business management skills working in the accounting department of a Fortune 500 insurance company. She has successfully owned and managed both large and small businesses.

Don Johnson
Project Observer

Don has 30 years of experience inspecting, evaluating, and reporting on road, bridge, water and waste water construction projects. He possesses extensive knowledge of the trades and is known for his attention to detail.



Rick Miller
Project Manager/ Observer

Rick has four decades of experience as a project manager in both the commercial and industrial construction trades.  He possesses a practical and expansive knowledge of engineering and architecture principles, which translates to less delays in the field and projects being completed as planned.  However, his most impressive skill is saving clients money by assisting with the fair evaluation and negotiation of change orders. 

Kurt Gowins
Project Manager

A graduate of Kent State University’s school of architecture, Kurt is a highly practiced designer who has over fifteen years of commercial building design experience.  He is skilled in commercial design, renovation and restoration projects and his input with the architectural design of covered bridges is invaluable. Kurt is known for providing clients with thoughtful and sound advice, which takes into account all options.

Patty Simpson
Technician III

Patty has more than 25 years of architectural and engineering design and drafting experience.  Having worked on a wide range of projects in several states, she has a vast knowledge of code and permit requirements.

Kevin Grippi
Client Advisor/Project Manager

Kevin is a fundraising professional who has secured millions of dollars from federal, state and private sources for public parks and transportation infrastructure.  He is an accomplished former administrator of municipal governments and a metropark district.

Nick Sheely
Engineer I

Nick is a graduate of Youngstown State University's Rayen school of engineering.  He is a former varsity place kicker and punter for the Penguin football team.  Nick has experience in the building trades and has received training in operating state-of-the-art surveying equipment.  He is also skilled at creating detailed opinions of probable costs for projects.

Cory Scott
Drafting Technician

Cory holds a bachelor of science degree in engineering technology from Kent State University and is experienced with using the full suite of AutoCAD products as well as gaming and animation applications.  He is an expert at tracing plans and drawings.

Kathy A. Presciano, LD, ASID
Interior and Lighting Designer

A former professor at the school of architecture and environmental design at Kent State University, Kathy was the designer in charge of all General Electric holiday lighting projects in the USA (e.g. National Christmas Tree) for nearly 20 years. She is considered one of Northeast Ohio’s top experts in the combined field of lighting and interior design.