Meet the Leadership: Jim Porter, PE, Principal

How did you become interested in engineering?

I have always been interested in engineering. From the time I could remember, I built Legos, remote control cars and erector sets. At the time I had no idea that was engineering. I was also very good at math. I thought I would be an accountant. I liked sciences but did not want to be a chemist or other scientist. When I first took an actual physics course my junior year of high school, I loved it. It resonated with me like building Legos did. My teacher asked me if I wanted to go into engineering. I did not know what an engineer did. She told me it combined the physics I loved with the math that I was good at. It sounds corny like one of those commercials that tell you teachers can change your life. Well, a teacher changed my life. Now, I don’t see myself doing anything else.

What has been the most interesting or significant change to the industry you’ve witnessed in your time with HAWA? 

The most significant change has been the technology. I blame movies for the invention of 3-D modeling and Revit. People love to see digital models and that carries into our community. Much more than that, everything is going over the network. Lights can be powered from telecom switches, HVAC controls are no longer pneumatic, and all our storage reside on the cloud. If people are hot, we cool them. If people are cold, we heat them. That’s how it has been for years. The digital age is upon us and we are just scratching the surface with utilization of these technologies. I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years brings us.

What do you most look forward to when you walk into work?

I looked forward to something different. We do a lot of standard stuff, but also get involved with unique buildings, systems, and even clients. I like challenges. I never know what odd thing I will get into. I have one client, where the project usually starts out simple and looks easy enough, until the catch. Usually that catch revolves around an odd requirement that borders on the impossible. This type of project gives me the chance to be creative.

What is one thing about your job that might surprise people?

The best asset for an engineer is his or her ability to communicate. I enjoy being an engineer and I can design all day long to my satisfaction, but if I truly want others to trust in my knowledge and design, I need to be able to communicate effectively.

What do you hope to bring to HAWA in your role as a leader?

Trust. The main requirement of a good leader is that people follow. If my co-workers, partners and clients in this small community do not have faith in me, then I will be limited in my and ultimately HAWA’s success. I love what I do, I love what we do, and I want everyone else to as well.

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