Jeff is a native of Kansas and grew up in a construction and engineering family. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1975 with a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering. In 1981, he received a Masters of Civil Engineering, also from Kansas. He currently holds professional and/or structural engineering licenses in ten states.
Jeff's early professional career was spent in the pre-engineered building industry as a staff engineer, product development engineer, and sales engineer. It was in these capacities he first encountered tilt-up construction. In his role as a product and sales engineer, he was often asked to "make metal buildings work with concrete walls". While working in California in 1984, his interest in tilt-up led him to a meeting with Dave Kelly of Burke. This meeting was pivotal in his career and cemented a commitment to tilt-up design and construction.
Jeff collaborated with Dave Kelly to develop a hybrid, metal-building and tilt-up wall, building-system marketed under the name Tilt-Plus. They jointly held a patent for a connection system for tilt-up walls to metal roofs, that is now commonly used in the industry. He became a Charter member of the TCA at this time.
Jeff formed Needham and Associates in 1989 and based much of his practice on tilt-up construction. The company grew steadily performing structural design and has been a leading innovator in structural engineering. In 1998, the firm began development of an in-house, early version of BIM software for the steel joist and deck industry. This was later expanded into structural steel. More recently DBS was formed as a unique, engineer driven, design-build steel framing solution for complex projects based on a pre-engineered delivery model.
He is active in promoting tilt-up through the Midwest and developed tilt-up construction in a number of nontraditional markets such as Kansas, Missouri, and Indiana. His firm introduced tilt-up to several major, national, retail developers as their preferred method of wall construction.
Jeff was a founding member of the Structural Engineers of Kansas and Missouri in 2001. He led the TCA Joplin Home Depot task force in 2011, which documented the good performance of tilt-up walls in a destructive F-5 tornado. He was the recipient of the David Kelly Distinguished Engineer Award in 2012 for this work. Most recently, Jeff has been active in the advancement of composite construction in tilt-up walls and the research and development of composite connection products.
He continues to manage Needham DBS and remains committed to the advancement of the tilt-up construction method. Under Jeff's leadership, Needham DBS has trained the next generation of innovative structural engineers that appreciate the benefits of tilt-up construction and make tilt-up a major part of the business.