Taking the helm of the National Roads Authority is not a new task for Brian Tomlinson. Although challenges lay ahead, it is a role in which he served some years ago, prior to the authority’s split from the Public Works Department, said a GIS press release.
‘This is where I started my professional career,’ said Mr Tomlinson, the NRA’s managing director, as he reflected on the year 1981 – when he first came to the Cayman Islands. ‘My first project was the Queen’s Highway, linking North Side to East End along the north coast of the island.’
When he left PWD in 1989 to set up his own civil engineering consultancy, he was the executive engineer for roads and had initiated the Master Ground Transportation Plan, from which some recommendations are still being used today.
From there, he went on to manage many notable projects, including reconstruction of all the pavement and runway at Owen Roberts International Airport, and the runway reconstruction at Gerrard Smith Airport in Cayman Brac.
His interest in aviation engineering was peaked by this experience and in 1995 he moved back to Des Moines, Iowa, where he honed his expertise in the aviation field with Snyder & Associates Inc., a civil engineering consultancy.
But his love for Cayman drew him back to the island. He returned in 2003 as project manager with the Cayman Islands Airports Authority for the construction of a new airport in Little Cayman, and the terminal expansion project at the Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman.
‘I really love Cayman,’ he said. ‘And if there’s anything I can contribute, it would be to help develop the roads and transportation system.’ He added, ‘You can also step back, when you’ve completed a project, and see the effect that it has on the community.’
A graduate of Iowa State University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering, he’s a registered professional engineer in Florida and Iowa; and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
‘The greatest thing about being a civil engineer is mentoring the young who are coming up in the profession, and trying to steer them in the right direction.’
Mr. Thomlinson points to the late Denis Snyder, founder of Snyder & Associates, as one of his favourite mentors in engineering.
Mr. Tomlinson’s NRA responsibilities include the supervision, development and implementation of strategic plans for the authority; the provision of recommendations, advice, information and data that will assist the NRA board with decision making; and overseeing the technical operations of the authority related to planning, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance.
Although he has the same surname as that of a prominent local family, Mr. Tomlinson’s ties to Cayman are instead through his wife, Mitzie (née Miller), who is from North Side. They have two daughters, Tawnie and Crystal.
In his spare time, Mr. Tomlinson says he goes fishing as often as he can.