061216 2040 luke langbehn kw.jpg

− Luke Langbehn

“It’s just neat to see some people be successful because we helped them out.”
KURT WILSON, Missoulian

Luke Langbehn hands out Thanksgiving turkeys for the Missoula Food Bank, and he's killed rattlesnakes that pose a risk to his team in Cascade County.

"They were near a job site, and I didn't want our guys getting into 'em," Langbehn said.

Langbehn, 33, is a project manager for McKinstry, and he's worked at the engineering firm since 2007. The University of Montana School of Business Administration graduate has a knack for people, passion for community, and dedication to mentoring young professionals.

Adina Peters, his wife, said he's also a caring husband. She was sick for six years, and even as he continued to work at McKinstry and volunteer for nonprofits, he cared for his wife.

"He has done this with dedication, humility and grace," Peters said in a nomination letter.

Langbehn didn't start out in the field of engineering at all. In his first job out of college, he ended up "building drugs for the government," but he didn't like working in pharmaceuticals at all.

Peters encouraged him to change career tracks — "she knew I liked to build" — and Langbehn set up a meeting with some colleagues at McKinstry. Overnight, he was working for the engineering firm.

"Shook the right hands, I guess," he said.

Since then, the LEED-certified professional has been planning and managing green commercial building projects throughout Montana. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

"His vision can be seen in his projects: saving Montana businesses, schools, and hospitals large sums of money by reducing their carbon footprint and making their systems highly efficient," Peters said.

The result? Drastically reduced utility bills, she said.

The Washington native doesn't stop after work, either. He volunteers in official ways and also as needed in his own neighborhood.

"After last summer's windstorm, he grabbed his chainsaw and started taking down fallen trees off of his neighbors' houses, stopping only when it was too dark to see," Peters said. "He shovels snow for his elder neighbors."

Langbehn is also vice chair for the Marketing and Management Board of the School of Business, and he likes to spend time coaching students on how to get their first jobs and write resumes. He offers career advice and steers them in new directions, too.

"I can share with them jobs that they don't know about and career paths that they don't know about and give them experience that I didn't quite get as a student there," Langbehn said.

He invites students to McKinstry's office downtown Missoula, and he finds the outcome rewarding. 

"It's just neat to see some people be successful because we helped them out," he said.

He's volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and the Clark Fork Coalition's annual river cleanup. Come Thanksgiving, he hands out turkeys for the Missoula Food Bank.

"That's a good time. You get to meet a lot of good people doing that," Langbehn said.

In his office, Langbehn keeps a crayon drawing by one of his nephews, and Peters said the little ones adore him, and he's committed to his family.

"He calls home to his parents in Spokane every Sunday," she said. "And until she passed last fall, he called his grandma in South Dakota every week.

"He is a man who always has time for others and never asks for anything in return."

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Reporter for the Missoulian