About Mike Stefanic
Mike’s career started upon graduation from Penn State in 1981 when he was hired as a field engineer by Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation out of Boston MA. His first assignment was on a Uranium Enrichment Facility in Piketon, OH for the US Department of Energy. At the time, it was the largest ongoing construction project in the continental United States with a price tag of $10 Billon.
In 1986, Mike moved to Annapolis, MD and joined a small General Contracting firm as a Superintendent where he managed the construction of two shopping centers and a three-building medical clinic.
In February 1989, Mike relocated to Carlisle PA where he began his career with Mowery as a Project Manager. He was 30 years old and the youngest PM on staff. His first assignment was at a Senior Care facility in Hanover PA. The project evolved into a $15 million project, the largest project for the company at that time.
In 1998, Mike left Mowery and joined Barlcay White / Skanska as a project manager where he managed the Football Training Facility for Penn State as well as one of the first million square foot distribution centers in the area for the Lowes Company. While at Barclay White, he learned much of what he did not know about the business of construction, which proved beneficial in the years that followed. He stayed with Barclay White / Skanska until September of 2002 when Don Mowery asked him to rejoin Mowery as the Vice President of Operations.
“The last 18+ years have been the culmination of, and the most fulfilling of my career and provided me the opportunity to work with good people, and to grow personally as well as professionally,” said Mike. “This afforded me the opportunity to shape and mold the Operations department into a team that took pride in their work, their accomplishments and made a significant contribution to the success of the Mowery company.”
We asked Mike a few questions as he reflects on his career. See what he had to share below.
I will miss being part of something that is bigger than each of us individually, yet collectively is part of something great.
What is it about the construction industry that has excited you over the years?
The excitement of planning a project and bridging the gap between a client’s dreams, a designer’s ideas, and the reality of the building process. It is like turning the intangible into something that is tangible.
Also, the opportunity to work with and get to know many professionals from different walks of life and different experiences and witness how these various backgrounds meld together to achieve a desired goal.
What was your favorite project?
It’s hard to pick a favorite as each project I was involved in was unique. Maybe the River Oaks Office building on Front Street in Harrisburg. Only because I was very involved in the design, I did the structural design work, and I managed the construction of the building. The attorneys that we built the building for were a handful too. I still get a thrill when I drive by that building and have fond remembrances of the many hours I spent on that project and how successful the project was for the company.
How do you plan to spend your retirement?
First take a little time to decompress and slow things down a notch. My wife and I like to travel so there will be some trips in the works. We recently purchased a vacation property outside of Fenwick Island, DE to enjoy with our families so we will be spending more time at the beach with our families. There will be some involvement in community service and church activities. I have interest in several activities that I have let drop for a while, so I do not think I will be bored. I hope I find time to get to all of them.
What will you miss most about Mowery?
I will miss being part of something that is bigger than each of us individually, yet collectively is part of something great. I will miss the interaction with the many talented construction professionals who care deeply about who Mowery is and what Mowery is about and who want to be part of a Team that moves the needle just a little more. The energy of my co-workers was uplifting and drove me to be a better person and manager. It is extremely gratifying to hear an “outsider” say “Oh, you’re with Mowery” and say it with a gleam in their eye, and excitement in their voice.
What was the greatest lesson learned over the years?
First and foremost be honest; with yourself, your coworkers, your clients, etc. Most people are astute enough to see through empty promises and exaggerations. Your honesty (or lack thereof) will follow you throughout your career and will affect the relationships you have and how people respond to you.
Second, strive to do your job to the fullest. Be thorough and complete in your work. Avoid just doing enough to “get by” or taking the short cut. It’s far more efficient to take longer to perform a task correctly than to do it twice. Besides, it demonstrates to those around you your level of competency and maturity.
Last, do not underestimate or take others for granted, or be too quick to pass judgment on people. Many projects that were “ours to lose” have been lost because of complacency. Until you understand where one has come from and what motivates them, you will not be able to understand where they are and how they can be part of and contribute to a team.
If you could offer one piece of advice to the Mowery team, what would it be?
Stay true to your roots, but don’t be afraid to be creative, think outside the box or approach a project from a different perspective. This is a highly competitive business, and it seems like people are always looking for the next best thing. I don’t think it’s necessary to reinvent who you are, I think it’s more necessary to be who you are and consistently deliver on what you say you can do.