2021 40 Under 40: Joe Thornam, PE, PMP, 35

Principal Electrical Engineer, Stanley Consultants; ME, Engineering Management, University of Colorado

By Gary Cohen, Chris Vavra and Amara Rozgus May 17, 2021

A talented yet humble engineer, Thornam has a gift for processing complex data, designing intricate systems and successfully troubleshooting problems. An expert at designing protective relay systems, his superb technical abilities propelled him from engineering intern to principal engineer in 10 years. Thornam derives the most satisfaction from helping others through mentoring, educational presentations and creating and sharing a variety of time-saving tools. During his 12 years with Stanley Consultants, he has documented project knowledge and, often on his own time, created custom guides to assist with specific tasks. These “cheat sheets” summarize commonly used technical data from multiple sources into a CliffsNotes-style single page engineers can hang on their cubicle walls for ready reference. Thornam isn’t afraid to take on technically complex topics and has become a subject-matter expert in areas where the company previously had little expertise, including power generation protection and control. On more than one occasion, his insight and troubleshooting have saved clients and contractors hundreds of thousands of dollars. Thornam’s penchant for mentoring also extends beyond the office. A whiz in physics, he has volunteered several times to help and mentor others, including working as a tutor with a struggling high school neighbor for several months. He has also worked with Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army and often comes to the aid of friends who need home-repair help. In his spare time, Thornam enjoys creating digital dance music, restoring classic motorcycles and hiking with his wife and son.