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Son Follows His Late Father’s Footsteps in Engineering


FAYETTEVILLE – As a child, Davin Schmidt II would go into work with his father at the N.C. Department of Transportation, mesmerized by the large planning sheets and highway maps sprawled about in the office.

By the time he entered high school, he developed a penchant for mathematics and science that would prepare him to go off to college – and eventually pursue the same career as his late father, Davin Schmidt I.

His father died in October 2019 at the age of 47 after succumbing to a three-year battle of first liver cancer, then acute myeloid leukemia. The elder Schmidt had been the Division 6 staff engineer, and an NCDOT employee for 27 years. Before his death, Division 6 employees raised $20,000 at a golf tournament in June 2019 to help his family with medical bills.

Fast forward to 2024, and his son, or “Little Davin” as he was called growing up, is graduating from N.C. State University on May 4 with a bachelors of science degree in civil engineer.

It’s an accomplishment his father, who was not able to attend a four-year university and earn a degree, would have been proud of today, his son said.

“I’m doing all of the things that he couldn’t afford to do when he was my age,” said Schmidt II, who was 17 when his father passed away.

In April, he was part of a three-person team for N.C. State that won a traffic bowl contest for the Southern District Institute of Transportation Engineers in Wilmington. The contest is similar to the TV show “Jeopardy,” but for engineering facts and problem-solving.

He was thrilled his team won.

“It was a whole lot of fun, and we obviously had prepared by reviewing documents, engineering manuals and going over past competitions,” he said.

Schmidt II already has a job lined up after graduation. He’ll go to work for Kimley-Horn, a major engineer and planning firm. 

His area of interest is roadway design – just like when he held those maps and planning documents in his small hands as a child in his father’s office.

“It’s sad thinking that he isn’t here to see all of this, but I know he’s looking down and smiling,” Schmidt II said. 


5/2/2024 1:41 PM