Joel W. Rinkel, PE provides geotechnical engineering, construction materials services, pavement engineering, geo-civil design services, shoring design services, forensics evaluations for below-grade structures, and expert witness testimony. He is primarily responsible for project and client management, including preparation of reports to address shallow and deep foundations, lead geotechnical and materials consultant for subsurface challenges, and lead designer for earth retention systems, dewatering systems, reinforced slopes, special ground improvement techniques, and underpinning systems. Joel serves as Owner’s representative for assessing subsurface conditions and their impact on the design and performance of subgrade-supported structures. Joel has BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering and is a registered Professional Engineer in Iowa and Michigan. He has been a project manager for more than 1,500 geo-civil and shoring design, geotechnical, pavement and construction materials services projects.

With 23 years of experience at SME, Joel stands out for his communication skills and empathy with clients and team members. He relishes the fact that every day is an opportunity to accomplish something good by helping those in need both in and out of the office. Joel is known as the go-to problem solver pertaining to soils and subsurface materials, being well versed in designing earth retention and dewatering systems, specialty foundation, and foundation underpinning projects. He finds opportunity and, more specifically, a method, technique and approach to provide a quality, cost-effective project. Oftentimes, this includes coordinating a solution with multiple trades and/or designers in order to reach an end result that benefits all parties.

His devotion and passion carry over into his home life where he has helped both family members and friends resolve complex issues such as constructing a new basement below an existing home with a former crawl space, installing stormwater pipe and improving site drainage, stabilizing a failing basement wall and a sinking porch, installing a custom designed 10-foot tall brick and block fireplace, and reconstructing an outdoor patio to reuse pavers and improve drainage. Above all else, Joel is active in the church community and guides a small group of confirmation students and teaches a Sunday school program. When Joel does sit down to relax, he enjoys watching an occasional baseball, basketball, hockey or football game.


Renovation and conversion of historic office building

Renovation project restored the character of the historic David Whitney Building and converted it into an upscale hotel, apartment and retail complex.

Settlement and cracking in a 1960s-era building

SME aided the Allen Park Housing Commission make their senior living citizen center sustainable.