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Joe Flaxbeard ‘03 Reflects on Impact of His Skutt Catholic Education

“Whenever I reflect on the past and my time at Skutt Catholic, I appreciate more and more the opportunity I had to be a student at Skutt Catholic and the impact it has had on my life,” said Joe Flaxbeard ‘03.

He says the school, and two teachers in particular, helped him find success and the path to a career in civil engineering.

“Mr. Kleinsasser (calculus) and Mr. Schnitzler (physics) helped me get on the path toward an engineering career,” he said. “Their classes challenged me and help me gain valuable problem-solving skills.”

Failing his first calculus test in Mr. Kleinsasser’s class was a wakeup call for Flaxbeard. “That was the first time I failed anything in my life and I knew I needed to work hard to be successful.”

“Besides work ethic and discipline, Skutt helped me focus my willingness to learn and explore,” he continued.

Overall, he says Skutt Catholic did a great job preparing him for college. “I had the tools I needed to be disciplined and get my work done with little direction from professors,” he said.

Small-School Community / Big School Opportunities
He says his choose Skutt Catholic because he was looking for a high school with the amenities and opportunities of a larger school but a smaller student body so he could participate in several activities.

Lifelong friendships were made in cross country and track, while academic decathlon and science olympiad provided opportunities for application of classroom lessons.

The Skutt Catholic Community
Flaxbeard says community is a big component of the Skutt Catholic experience. Even as a graduate he continues to be an active participant of the SkyHawk family, serving as the chair of the building and grounds committee on the school’s board of directors.

“Whether it came from serving during Community Involvement Day, or working on class projects, Skutt provides a lot of opportunities for students to interact with people who are different than you.”

“These opportunities teach the importance of empathy and shine a light on the impact an individual can have on their community,” he said.

“To put it simply, the Skutt Catholic experience made me a better person,” he said.


Joe Flaxbeard ‘03 has been working in the Design Group at Lamp Rynearson for 12 years, where he has served as a civil engineer and project manager on a variety of projects including residential, commercial, redevelopment and infrastructure projects.

Joe is currently the project manager for the Heartwood Preserve development’s platting, grading and public improvements, working to deliver the civil infrastructure along with Noddle Companies, Applied Underwriters, HDR, HGM and the rest of the SID 583 team.

Flaxbeard was named a 2017 Midlands Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award recipient, a distinction that recognizes 40 of the metro’s dynamic entrepreneurs, executives and professionals under the age of 40.

He earned a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2007. Joe and his wife, Jana, have one son, Leo (3). They are members of St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church.

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