K-State's Paul Karr to explore engineering, student opportunities in Kansas City

Aug. 12, 2021 | Written by Greg Tammen


Paul KarrPaul Karr is beginning a two-year appointment as the director of engineering programs at Kansas State University's Olathe campus, effective Aug. 8. He will focus on engineering outreach activities as well as support for the animal health and urban food systems programs.

Karr has been serving as assistant professor in the GE Johnson Department of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science for the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering at the Manhattan campus. This new appointment to this new role comes through a partnership with the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering and K-State Olathe.

"Paul Karr's engineering background bridges both academia and industry, which is a real asset because of what we hope to accomplish through this agreement," said Jackie Spears, dean and CEO of K-State Olathe. "With the strong professional ties of the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering, the size of the engineering workforce in Greater Kansas City and the increased use of technology in animal health and food safety and food security led us to explore a partnership that would bring engineering expertise to K-State Olathe."

One academic effort will entail working with K-State Olathe's K-12 staff to explore linkages with Project Lead the Way teachers as well as collaborations with area community colleges and universities that support pathways to K-State's engineering program.

Karr also will meet with industry partners and members of various advisory boards to help enhance the college's visibility while also working with these contacts to secure student internships with Kansas City companies and explore collaborative research projects involving animal health, technology and food systems. He also will work to identify education and skill gaps that can be closed through professional development programming from K-State Olathe.

"The science and technology energy in the Kansas City region is enormous," Karr said. "Just about every industry needs engineers. It only makes sense to bring K-State's outstanding engineering services to the Olathe campus where they can be expanded for the benefit of all. I am excited to help explore how we can serve the people here through this collaboration."

Karr had been with K-State's Carl R. Ice College of Engineering since 2017. There, he instructed plumbing, electrical and HVAC courses for the architectural engineering and construction science department and also served as a faculty advisor for the Mechanical Contractors Association of America and Solar Decathlon student competition teams.

In 2019, Karr received the Mark Keenan Family Faculty Award and was named the D. Craig and Dalene D. Nelson - Carl and Mary Ice Cornerstone Teaching Scholar. In 2018, he received the Eugene Thorson Faculty Award.

He has more than 30 years of experience in the Kansas City construction field, having worked in plumbing sales, MEP engineering and architecture.

Karr earned his bachelor's degree in construction science and master's degree in architecture ecological and sustainable design, both from K-State. He also holds a professional licensure in architectural engineering.