Luke Olson, P.E.
Central Region Transit Director
Luke leads our transit program in the central part of the U.S. where he helps align our comprehensive technical capabilities with our transit client’s needs. Internally, he leads and supports many companywide initiatives, including career planning/mentoring, strategic growth planning, marketing/teaming, pushing technical advancement and innovation within the transit industry, monitoring our project delivery and continually enhancing our service offerings.
He's passionate about the impact our projects make in communities and the ability to help others advance their careers. He appreciates that on any given day, he has the opportunity to do both of these by working on projects to help clients and communities advance transformative infrastructure projects, which is often coupled with mentoring staff and creating opportunities for them to expand their technical and leadership capabilities. His most rewarding experience at HDR has been serving as a mentor for two different career skills, an internal leadership development program, classes and protegees. The immersive program and one-to-one ratio of mentors and protegees is a great opportunity for both parties to mentor/reverse mentor and learn, as well as developing a long-lasting, fulfilling relationship. He is proud to have helped two up-and-coming leaders gain their first opportunity to become project managers and support them as they found their own way leading projects.
Luke is known for helping Kansas City advance its vision for developing rail transit in just five years, from planning to revenue service. The streetcar project has been transformative for the city and is already being extended both north and south. It was completed in record time and received numerous industry awards. He has also helped bring innovation to the industry by leading the design for the first “off-wire” streetcar implemented in the U.S. — the Dallas Streetcar — and as a key contributor in bringing a new embedded track rail section to U.S. manufacturing that meets Buy America requirements and offers U.S. clients more options.
Luke is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association, where he graduated from the 2017 Leadership APTA Class. He continues to seek opportunities to participate in APTA and other organizations as the next generation is starting to see more opportunities.