Getting to Know Us: Stuart Mitchell

Stuart MitchellThe Wood Harbinger team is made up of diverse and interesting people, who bring all kinds of backgrounds, professional experiences, and insights to our firm. In this blog series, we’ll share a little something about each of the people behind our successful engineering projects.

This week, the spotlight’s on Mechanical Engineer Stuart Mitchell, P.E., CCP, LEED AP BD+C.

Stuart has 8 years’ experience in the engineering industry and is a strong advocate for sustainability and green building. He is an experienced project manager and mechanical engineer with a proven ability to optimize client profitability and reduce operational costs while improving system performance and occupant comfort. He brings a commitment to collaboration and innovation to his project work and is adept in providing integrated sustainability solutions with developers, contractors, facility operators, and consultants.

What made you decide to become an engineer/designer/drafter/work for an engineering firm?

I’ve always enjoyed building/creating things. The creativity of engineering drew me in, the satisfaction of seeing a building through to completion kept me in, and the constant drive to building more sustainability keeps me growing.

Have you held any jobs/had any careers outside of the engineering industry? If so, what industry and what did you do?

I interned at a place that made needles for the medical industry. Everything from tiny things to prick fingers to the monsters used to perform spinal taps (what I remember as being the diameter of a fire hose). I learned a lot about precision and cleanliness but the worst part was testing to see how much force it would take to shear off the needle.

I also interned at a place that manufactured tool boxes. I remember performing time studies on a welding line and getting sunburned.

What do you like best about being an engineer/designer/drafter/working for an engineering firm?

Solving clients’ problems.

What do you like least about being and engineer/designer/drafter/working for an engineering firm?

When jobs are not creative or don’t have a focus on energy or sustainability.

 What do you hope to be doing in five years (becoming a PE, being a project manager, mentoring junior engineers, working on a high-profile project, developing client relationships, etc.)?

In five years I intend on serving as a mentor, fostering the relationships I’ve developed and working on projects in glamorous locations.

What’s one funny story of an experience you’ve had on the job?

I was hosting a training in Flagstaff, Arizona. After a late night flight into Phoenix we had to drive up to Flagstaff. I was driving with a fellow trainer, the general contractor’s project manager and superintendent, and two commissioning agents representing an entire sustainability pilot program. At about midnight we encountered a highway sign indicating an “Elk Crossing”. One of the commissioning agents stated he had never seen an elk and I responded that I really did not feel like encountering any that night.

At about 1:30 AM, with everyone else asleep in the car, I had to bring the car to a screeching halt as a small herd of elk was grazing on and along the interstate. Everyone was jarred awake. I exclaimed, “There’s your elk, Don.” It is a fond story to look back on but at the time, the entire sustainability pilot program could have wound up drastically different had we not stopped in time.

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