Stanley Harris, P.E.

Member Since: 
1975
Stanley Harris          

Stanley Harris, P.E.
Field: mechanical and process automation
Location: Richmond, VA
NSPE member since: 1975

What you do: I am retired after 40 years (1968–2008) with Reynolds Metals Co./Alcoa. Immediately after college, I started in product development working as a mechanical engineer developing automotive applications for aluminum alloys. This was during the Vietnam War and four months after graduation I was in military service. After basic and aviation maintenance training I was assigned to the United States Army Board for aviation accident research at Fort Rucker in Alabama. After completing my military service, I returned to Reynolds to work in their flexible packaging division as a project engineer, plant engineer, process automation application engineer, and manufacturing support systems manager.

In addition to my full-time job, I had the pleasure to serve on the Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA) for some 18 years. I remain active as an emeritus member of the Board and am involved with National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCEES). I am also active with the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers as a member of the Joint Legislative Committee.

What do you value in the people you work with? I am very much in favor of engineering teams or groups working on multidiscipline projects. Professionals should take pride in the work they perform and the manner in which they interact with their team members and others to deliver the final product.

Biggest professional role model? I must say that I had many during my career, both professional engineers and business professionals. One of the first PEs I met after military service helped me get involved locally and regionally in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He was a corporate engineer for a major railroad. A second PE and significant influence on my career was my first boss after military service. We were in industry and the license was not a necessary element in the path up the corporate ladder, but his discipline, dedication to the profession, ethics, and knowledge helped guide me through my career. We still meet for breakfast once a month.   

What do you think companies need to do to attract younger generations into the engineering industry? I believe industry's investment in young students (grades 5–12) has to be enhanced. There are still high school students who never see an engineer or don't know what engineers do. The industry has to be more visible in the classroom and the community. This does work. The Richmond Area Program for Minorities in Engineering has been doing just this for over 30 years in Richmond and several surrounding counties. I have served as a director or officer for much of its life.

If you weren't an engineer, you'd be: I have always enjoyed working with my hands and my father was a talented mechanic. I probably would be involved with automobiles, maybe some form of racing.

Proudest engineering accomplishment: My work with the manufacturing automation group at Reynolds to develop cost-effective, durable, efficient, and accurate control systems as well as the necessary support network and databases required to produce a quality product.

Your hobbies? My family (wife, three adult children, and five grandchildren) get most of my interest, but I still enjoy racquet ball four times a week and Formula 1 racing.

You joined NSPE to… network and learn more about practice engineering and the profession of engineering.

Your desert island book: A collection of short stories.