When and how did you know that you wanted to be an engineer?
I got a pioneering merit badge in Boy Scouts that peaked my interest but I had no other leaning in high school or role models. After one year of college (Philosophy major!), I took a break and did a variety of things varying from playing in a moderately successful Boston rock band and ultimately worked as a union construction worker on an erection crew for precast concrete mid-rise buildings. Being involved with the tangible process of putting up buildings inspired me to go to engineering school.
What made you decide to start your own business?
I was in leadership positions in other firms and decided that I would like to give it a go with my own style. I learned a lot from my mentors at the other companies including Don Goldberg and Bill Zoino of GZA and am grateful to all I had an opportunity to watch and learn from. Starting a business is not for everyone; independence is part of it; self-realization but you must have a tolerance for risk.
What do you consider most satisfying about your job?
I really enjoy working with clients, brainstorming and coming up with good ideas and practical designs and solutions. I thoroughly enjoy working with the younger members of the firm to share my knowledge and experience. I also like our industry and all the colorful people in it. Getting involved in organizations and project teams and developing lasting relationships is very satisfying.
What is your most memorable project?
GeoDesign – my longest project so far! Wow, that is a good question and there have been many memorable projects so I will name a few. Emergency response work for VTrans during tropical storm Irene was very memorable. I was on a team for a week designing repairs on the spot for damaged highways, bridges and rail facilities and I also assisted Metro-North Railroad with storm damage repairs. My role as geotechnical engineer-in-charge of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge (Cable Stayed Structure carrying I-95 over New Haven Harbor in Connecticut) stands out. Others include the first slurry drilled shafts for a high rise building in Boston and earthquake proofing some loose sand sites with blasting.
How do you define success?
Giving more than taking, making a positive difference in people’s lives, being able to enjoy the journey, setting personal standards and adhering to them, setting a good example, doing the best you can with the gifts that you have been given.
What matters most to you?
What can you say about lessons learned?
As a professional engineer, I have learned that we can be leaders on project teams, and in our communities and we should do so – we must be engaged beyond whatever technical discipline we may have. I think the best engineers are also creative, have a natural curiosity, have good critical thinking skills and are not afraid to make a decision. In the end, without good communication skills, all the technical stuff is diminished. Last but not least, engineers study technical disciplines and become comfortable with those skills they develop. As they evolve, many of the things that are important such as leadership, communication, business development, managing people need to be learned on the job and are outside of the comfort zone. Thus, to succeed you must do things you are at least initially, uncomfortable with. I am mindful that if spend my day feeling comfortable with all my activities, I may not be doing all the right things.
What is your favorite hobby/hobbies?
I grew up sailing and maintain the passion to this day with my own boat and as crew and navigator on other boats for ocean passages including 13 U.S. to Bermuda races to date. I love all kinds of music and write, record and perform songs that have a rock, pop and country influences.
What value do you feel you bring to the organization?
As CEO my job is to promote a culture of quality based upon teamwork, client service, critical thinking, technical excellence, practicality, individual leadership and professionalism. A strong culture is a powerful asset.
M.S., 1980, Civil Engineering (geotechnical specialization), MIT
B.S., 1978, Civil Engineering, Northeastern University
M.B.A., 1993, University of Connecticut (Finance), Dispute Resolution Board Training
Registered Professional Engineer: NY, NJ, CT, MA, ME, VT, LEED AP (BD +C)
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