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ms Q+A: Sean Riffle

Maggie Kearns Francis

February 25, 2020

Sean in 100 Words or Less

I grew up in Canton, Ohio, and graduated from the University of Akron with a degree in civil engineering. I met my wife when I was a junior in high school, and we’ve been together ever since. We married right after college and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where I got my first job with a consulting firm. After starting a family, we moved back to Ohio in 2006, settling in Columbus. I joined ms in 2011 and worked five years in our Columbus office before moving back to Northeast Ohio. I now work out of our Akron office and specialize in highway and drainage design and managing various types of transportation infrastructure projects.

The Speed Round

What was your first job?

Kmart… during Christmas time… was not fun


Next item to cross off your bucket list?

Drive from Southern Florida to Key West and visit Dry Tortugas National Park


Best concert you’ve attended?

Outkast at House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina


Early bird or night owl?

Night owl, but wish I was an early bird


If you had your own talk show, who would be your first three guests?

Jimmy Fallon, Tom Hanks, and Jennifer Aniston


Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter?

Fall, by far


Favorite restaurant?



Last thing you read?

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin


What is a hobby you always wanted to pick up, but never did?

Playing guitar


Cook in or eat out?

We mostly cook in, but my kids love to eat out


Dream vacation location?

Fiji in one of the huts over the water


Listener or talker?



If you had an extra hour of time in each day, how would you use it?

Playing with my kids or sleeping

Tell Us More

What sets ms apart from other engineering & architecture firms?

ms is a family-owned company that is just the right size. Not too big, you are definitely a name and not a number here, but big enough to offer a lot of services and to get to work on some really interesting and fun projects.


Which project are you most proud to have been a part of, and why?

Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway (Portsmouth Bypass) in Scioto County, Ohio. This was the biggest project in the history of the state and the first of its type (public/private partnership). I worked a lot with the contractors, which helped me to see things from their perspective and has made me a better engineer. Very proud of our team and the amount of effort put into this project to make it a success.


If you weren’t an engineer, what would you be doing?

I would probably be a teacher. I like working with kids, plus you get summers off.


What is the best career advice you have ever received?

Work hard. My dad is one of my biggest role models when it comes to work ethic and getting things done. He taught me that the work needs to be done first before you can have fun. You may not be the smartest or most dynamic, but a strong work ethic can go a long way.


What would you go back and tell your 22 year old self?

Start saving your money as early as possible.


You’ve got one day in Akron. What do you do?

I would get lunch at The Lockview and go for a bike ride on the Towpath trail. In the evening I would go to a nighttime Rubber Ducks baseball game at Canal Park, preferably on fireworks night, and then go to dinner at Cilantro or Luigi’s.


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I like to travel and visit different places, whether it be a bustling city or quiet getaway camping with my family. Near home, we like to go to the Lake Erie Islands, Cedar Point, Amish country, or camping at a nearby lake. Further from home my family loves going to the beaches in North Carolina or Georgia. Last year we visited New York City and Boston for the first time and absolutely loved the vibe of the bigger cities. More recently, my wife and I took a trip ourselves out to northern California where we visited San Francisco, Napa Valley, Mount Shasta, and Bodega Bay.


Any final words?

One of my favorite quotes:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”
― Maya Angelou