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.
The David L. Kelly Distinguished Engineer Award recognizes those individuals or firms whose commitment to engineering excellence has allowed for industry advancement and achievement.
The award honors the career-long commitment of Dave Kelly to the constant evolution of engineering solutions for the tilt-up industry. Learn more >
Partially Composite Insulated Walls Study - What do the Findings Mean for Me?
Tilt-Up Convention and Expo 2021 - St. Louis - September 18, 2021
Structural Design of Composite Tilt-Up Panels
Tilt-Up Convention and Expo 2017 - Miami - September 30, 2017