Anniversary Interview: Chris Stewart

Chris Stewart is celebrating 15 years with HMB this month.  Chris is HMB's Water and Wastewater Division Project Development & Funding Specialist.  He also serves as Project Manager on several projects. In honor of Chris's anniversary, we asked him a few questions:

What made you get into civil engineering?

I became interested in engineering during middle school when I had an Industrial Arts class.  In high school I took four years of drafting classes that introduced me to AutoCAD and some basic design.  After that I knew engineering would be my college major.  Once at college, I pretty much hated the transportation and structures classes, and found that I really liked the fluids courses so it was water/wastewater all the way after that.

Where did you attend college? What did you major in?

I attended the University of Kentucky and majored in Civil Engineering, with a Minor in Environmental Studies.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I enjoy putting projects together and working and interacting with our clients to see their projects come to fruition.  I enjoy seeing a project completed and working just like we set out for it to in the beginning.

What’s the most interesting part of your job?

The most interesting part of my job is figuring out how to take a need identified between us and the client, putting a project together to fill that need and getting it funded to become a reality.

Which project(s) are you most proud to have worked on in your career? Why?

I don’t really have a singular project that I would point to as being most proud of.  Rather, I am most proud that I can’t think of a single project that I have worked on that has turned out bad or less than satisfactory for our client.

What has been your best, worst or funniest moment at HMB?

My worst moment at HMB happened about 10 years ago.  I attended a meeting with two County Judge/Executives and a Bluegrass Area Development District staff person to discuss starting the next phase of a sewer project that we were finishing up the Regional Facility Plan, which is a preliminary study, on.  There was a $500,000 grant already committed to the project and available to pay for the design.  When the Judge said he wanted us to start work on the design, I said basically that we’re ready to go right now and the $500,000 grant is available to pay for it.  The Judge had other ideas and insisted that we had to do the work and he would pay us if and when another grant was awarded.  When I refused to do the work on a contingency basis, he fired HMB on the spot. This turned out to be an important learning experience for me.  Our decision was justified though when the engineer who took on the project next didn't get paid for almost 8 years. 

What are your hobbies?

I love hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, backpacking and all sorts of outdoor pursuits.  I also enjoy going to major sports events such as basketball, baseball and football games, as well as PGA golf events and other significant athletic competitions.  However, most of that is out the window right now and my main hobby is coaching and watching my twin sons play baseball, basketball and football.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take one item what would it be?

Probably my shotgun and some shells, so I could eat.

What’s your favorite movie?

I’d have to say the original Star Wars is my favorite of all time, followed by The Godfather.

What’s your favorite TV show?

I don’t really watch much TV, but when I do it is usually SportsCenter.

What would be your dream vacation?

My dream vacation would probably be a hunting and fishing trip to Alaska, followed by a combination duck and dove hunting trip to Argentina.

What superhero would you be and why?

I’d have to say Superman because there isn’t much that he can’t do.

If you could travel by plane, train, automobile or boat, which would you choose?

Airplane because it gets me where I want to go the fastest and patience is not particularly one of my virtues.

What is your favorite genre of music? Do you have a favorite band?

I’m a fan of all music but I guess my overall favorite broad genre of music would be rock.  The Rolling Stones are my all-time favorite band but I’m currently listening to a lot of the Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell (who is a former member of the Drive-By Truckers), and Chris Knight.  I also really enjoy Robert Earl Keen, Son Volt and Cross Canadian Ragweed.  I just got the Black Keys new album and am really liking it, as well as Sundy Best.

What’s your favorite type of food? Do you have a favorite restaurant?

My favorite type of food is spicy food in general.  I like it hot!  And if it isn’t hot, I have a cabinet full of hot sauces that I can use to make it hot.

What's your favorite sports team? Do you prefer college or professional?

I’m really into sports in general, but I definitely prefer college sports and UK is my favorite.  I also really like Notre Dame.  My favorite professional teams are the Cincinnati Reds, Dallas Cowboys and LA Lakers.

Chris Stewart, PE - Project Development/ Funding Specialist

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