Engineers Week Spotlight | Steve Harding, PE | Senior Project Manager

How many years of experience do you have as an engineer?

35 years.

When/how did you discover that you wanted to become a civil engineer?

When my High School Guidance Counselor said that since I was good at math and science, that I should go to the University of Maine for Engineering.  Civil engineering just seemed like the best fit for me.

What do you like most about the work you do? 

I like going out to construction sites and working with contractors to address issues before they become problems.  I also really like the people that I work with at Sebago Technics, but most of all, I like working with my long-term clients whom many have become close friends. Having close bonds and liking the clients that you work with can add pressure in many cases to ensure that projects have positive outcomes, but knowing that people care about you both professionally and a personally makes that added stress to deliver worth taking on.

What is your favorite/most notable project and why?

As a consultant, I have been fortunate to the be the Town Engineer of Cape Elizabeth for 25 years. During that time, there have been many challenging and diverse projects that I am proud to have been a able to be a part of their success.  The one that stands out to me was actually a series of projects called Facilities 2000 which involved the relocation of the Public Works Department from the Town Center to a new 19,000 square foot facility adjacent to the Transfer Station, and also included two new recreational fields and a new inter-looping trail network in a large expanse of open space.  The program also included the rehabilitation and expansion of the former Public Works Department into a new Fire Station and the demolition of an outdated Public Safety building that was replaced by a new Police Station facility.  Site modifications were also necessary to better serve the specific needs of the Fire and Police Departments. The Project took several years to complete and featured everything from master planning, working with a building committee and the pubic, permitting, designing both buildings and sites, and the administration of the construction activities throughout the process to the very end.  These facilities have transformed the Town and served the Community well over the years. To be the Project Manager throughout the process, and be able to interact with so many skilled people involved in the overall project, was an exciting opportunity and an extremely rewarding experience.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming an engineer?

Talk with several people in the industry and find the piece of engineering that interests and suits you best.  There are so many facets to engineering, with such a diverse array of opportunities to contribute, that there is a place for everyone with an interest in the engineering field.  The world’s infrastructure problems are getting more and more complex, so there will always be a need for talented people who want to make a difference.