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Member Profile: Freese and Nichols’ Brandon Huxford On How Physics Intersects with Transportation Engineering


Freese and Nichols’ Brandon Huxford, P.E. likes to say he stumbled into engineering. After realizing his initial pre-med undergraduate path wasn’t serving him, he followed his love of science and math and pursued an engineering physics degree at Abilene Christian University.


It was a summer internship that sparked his love of civil engineering and pushed him to earn a master’s degree in civil engineering at University of Texas at Arlington. 


“This field presents me with tangible opportunities to solve everyday problems. I love figuring out how things work, and I equally love interfacing with people and analyzing their behaviors to aid in solving those problems. That’s civil engineering in a nutshell,” Huxford said.

Huxford has spent the entirety of his career with Freese and Nichols, starting as an intern in Dallas 16 years ago.

Now based in the Oklahoma City area, he serves as Transportation Group Manager for the company’s Central Plains region—consisting of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas—leading teams on traffic and roadway engineering projects.


With three young daughters, Huxford and his wife have enjoyed the change of pace that their more than 7 years in Oklahoma has afforded them after spending nearly a decade in the bustling Dallas-Fort Worth area. 


“Our families are die-hard Texas fans so we were immediately in enemy territory once we crossed the Red River,” Huxford joked. “The truth is, we love Oklahoma. As someone from a small town in central Texas, it reminds me of home. Everyone is friendly, nice and genuine.”


His experience as a Texas transplant now firmly rooted in Oklahoma fueled Huxford’s involvement with Open for Business Oklahoma (OFBO). “Being able to rally together with other firms in the same position as us has been eye-opening and inspiring,” Huxford said. “We live here just like everyone else does, and it’s been great to work together toward a collective goal.” 


Plus, it’s inspired him to become more involved at the capitol. “It’s one thing to be an observer of the legislative process but another altogether to be a participant. OFBO gave me the nudge to go from the sideline to the field when it comes to legislative issues.”


Much of Huxford’s job revolves around human behavior: understanding it, applying it, and influencing it through intentional design centered on safety. “I enjoy the psychological aspect of transportation and traffic engineering,” he said. “It’s our job to analyze patterns and human nature, and use that to determine how to keep people as safe as possible. Everyone with a driver’s license has their own perspective about our line of work; we have the unique opportunity to help the public understand why we do what we do.”


That includes shaping perception of high-profile road projects, including the construction of a roundabout at the Highway 81 and Route 66 intersection in El Reno.


“I love to talk to the public about plans and engage in that crucial discourse,” Huxford said. “Roundabouts aren’t commonplace in Oklahoma. We meet people where they are, hear their concerns, and then explain it from our perspective and show the data behind what we’re doing.”


His team has gone so far as to bring a scale model of the roundabout to public meetings, allowing citizens to run through a simulation on the scale model. “It’s been fun to change the minds of the naysayers, when they see what it will really be like and how it will improve efficiency and safety.”

Every day is different for Huxford and his teams.


“Transportation is one of the more immersive disciplines within civil engineering,” he said. “Roadways interact with water lines, sewer lines, retaining walls, residents, traffic signals, you name it. It’s those unique challenges that make for a wide variety of work that changes on a daily basis.”


Huxford still gets to put his physics background to use.


“There’s a concept in physics called wave-particle duality. Very similar to light, traffic actually propagates in waves just like light does when passing through a slit, creating a diffraction pattern,” he said. “It’s pretty cool to see it play out in the real world and be able to apply what I learned in school after all these years.”

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