Recognizing the Behind-the-Scenes Work that Keeps HAWA Running

So much of what we do at HAWA relies on technology – from networks and databases to BIM and other design software, our work both in the office and on the jobsite depends on all of these systems operating smoothly. It’s easy to take properly functioning technology for granted, but it’s important to acknowledge the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making sure everything is performing as it should. Earlier this month, HAWA celebrated National IT Professionals Day by recognizing the hard work of two individuals who keep our office running: Sam Manzella and Drew McClellan.

Headshot of Sam Manzella

Sam Manzella, our BIM Managing Director and IT Manager, joined the HAWA team in 1998, and is responsible for developing and implementing HAWA’s BIM and IT-related standards and procedures, ensuring successful collaboration between HAWA and our clients, training staff in BIM, and selecting and implementing IT equipment and software. Since a young age, Sam has had an interest in deconstructing and redesigning things, such as his childhood Vespas or helping his dad align irrigation channels on the family lemon farm in Italy. He turned that passion into a career in MEP and IT network design that ultimately brought him to HAWA, where he has since been all things IT. When he isn’t restoring and modernizing Victorian era properties, Sam likes exploring the architecture of the city. His ability to blend the old with new has kept HAWA at the forefront of anticipating the technical needs of our industry, boosting our response time to the adaptations required to be successful in virtual environments.

Headshot of Drew McClellan

Drew McClellan, our IT Support Specialist, started working at HAWA in March 2020, just in time to assist with our company’s seamless transition to working from home. His responsibilities include resolving software and hardware problems, exploring future software updates, and testing new software to help expedite workflows. With how proficient he is in IT, our team was surprised to learn that Drew has a degree in Culinary Arts and spent 12 years as a chef before joining HAWA. His interest in technology started at a young age when he would take apart PCs in elementary school to explore what made them work. In middle school, he participated in a PC-building and web design class, then further developed that passion into building and optimizing gaming PCs. Now, a year and a half into his time with HAWA, he has proven to be an invaluable addition to our team.

HAWA relied heavily on Sam and Drew last year when our staff shifted from the office to remote work. At the beginning of the pandemic, they made themselves available around the clock to help staff move into a work-from-home environment with nominal to no interruptions to workflow. Now, more than a year and a half after they started this massive undertaking, Sam and Drew have continued to pioneer remote capabilities within HAWA, just as we have been doing with clients on-site for years.

“The 2020 pandemic response was an opportunity for HAWA to align emerging technology with our own remote needs by enhancing our team’s ability to operate remotely and respond in real time to client needs, whether virtual or in person,” Sam states. “Whether rolling out new technologies, upgrading software or tackling cybersecurity, we’ve been able to build a strong relationship based upon a hybrid working environment like many of our clients are continuing to explore and rely upon.”

Neither we nor our clients would know what to do without the expertise of Sam and Drew. We should be celebrating them every day, not just the third Tuesday in September, for their exceptional work ethic, knowledge and problem-solving skills. Thank you for all you do, Sam and Drew!

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