Since following his alumni parents to Angelo State, Travis Barnett has continued to blaze his own trail at their shared alma mater.
A West Texas native, Barnett moved around quite a bit and attended five different schools before graduating high school and heading to ASU. At the time, he was the 13th member of his extended family to wear the blue and gold.
“There was a program back then that would allow you to do three years at ASU and then two years at Texas A&M, and you would end up with bachelor’s degrees in both physics and engineering,” Barnett said. “I came to ASU with the intention of doing that, but when the time came, I just couldn’t leave ASU.”
After graduating in 2012 with his bachelor’s degree in applied physics and work experience at SKG Engineering, Barnett headed to Texas Tech for his master’s degree in civil engineering and worked several years for a large multi-discipline design firm. He later opened a Lubbock office of SKG and then started his own firm, Big Sky Engineering, in 2018 before merging with Centerline Engineering and taking the role of CEO in 2020.
“We still maintain the Big Sky Engineering brand,” Barnett said. “Big Sky Engineering is the geotechnical and environmental branch of Centerline. Since the merger, Centerline has experienced 100% revenue growth annually and we’ve added three new offices. We’ve had a really good period of growth, and the area we serve is rapidly expanding to include all of Texas, as well as eastern New Mexico and southern Oklahoma.”
About the only regret Barnett had along the way was that he just missed out on ASU’s civil engineering degree program that was announced in 2014.
“If ASU had a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering when I was here, I would’ve definitely been in that program,” Barnett said. “I pursued my master’s degree at Texas Tech simply because I needed a diploma from an accredited engineering school.”
“But I’m really happy to see the engineering program here at ASU,” he added. “It makes great sense. A lot of the students who come to ASU have a background similar to mine, so I’m glad to see this degree plan and career path available here.”
And while he missed out on the program as a student, he made sure to get involved as an alumnus by volunteering for the Industry Advisory Council.
“I knew that in order to get accredited, ASU would need professional engineers on that committee,” Barnett said. “That was my goal since the engineering program was announced, to be an alumnus and sit on that board. I’m really proud that I’m a Ram engineer, and I would love for that council to eventually be 100% alumni. The more engineers ASU graduates, the more opportunity there is to bring that full circle.”
“ASU is where I really discovered myself…”
Barnett has also given guest lectures in hydrology classes, and he regularly recruits ASU students for the Centerline Engineering staff that already boasts multiple ASU alumni.
“Class sizes and relationships with your professors are directly correlated to the depth of subject matter you can learn,” Barnett said. “You can’t just ‘get by’ at ASU. Your professors are going to know you, and if your work starts slipping, they’re going to notice and help you out. That’s going to pay off for you professionally in how quickly you can integrate into a workplace and start providing value to an employer.”
“That’s why we recruit at ASU,” he added, “because that was my experience on campus.”
His ASU experience has also influenced Barnett to return that support as a member of the Alumni Association, President’s Circle, Ram Club and Alumni Band.
“ASU made me,” Barnett said. “ASU is where I really discovered myself and decided who I was and what kind of person I was going to be. It’s where I met my best friends and where I met my wife, Kate.”
“With her support for me, Kate is just as involved in this story as I am. She’s also just as much ASU as I am. So when I say ASU made me, it also built my family and built my future, all of it. ASU is where we always come back to.”