My Hallam Story

Steve Matthews | Senior Mechanical Engineer

My story started in the fall of 1991. I had just been let go from Wiemann-Lamphere Architects after working there almost ten years. I took a temporary fill-in job with Temperature Controls of Vermont. While with TCV, I received a phone call from Tink Pelkey, and he asked me to come in for an interview for a controls position with Hallam. At the time, I was thinking I hadn’t been exposed to controls that long, but hey, I’ll give it a try. So, I went to the job interview one afternoon and there sat Tink and Bill Fyfe. They asked their usual questions, and I wasn’t sure why I was even there, yes for a job, but I was not sure if I even had a chance. I hardly had any controls experience. A few days later, Bill Fyfe called me and offered me a job as a mechanical designer. I guess Tink probably saw that my experiences were limited in the controls arena, but Bill must have thought he could use me on the mechanical design team.

From March 1992 to around December 1995, I worked as a mechanical designer with Hallam. I was exposed to all kinds of different projects, from doing studies to working at Dartmouth College and on to designing my first clean room for IBM. The clean room design had me on edge! I was lucky enough to learn the basics from a mentoring senior engineer but, where IBM wanted this clean room was beyond the basics. This project was in IBM’s Building 973 and was going to be a difficult building to provide all the services to. After many hours in the field locating the recirculation unit and all the other utilities, we were able to make it all work. During the actual construction I remember feeling nervous about how everything would really work. And, it DID work! That project earned me respect with the IBM engineers. They saw I did what I could to make sure it would work, and when there were issues, I did the best I could to resolve them. Finally, during this time, I was able to assist Tink Pelkey’s group working with controls designs, producing P&ID’s for the IBM controls projects. Tink slowly lured me into his group. I was then working with both the mechanical folks and the controls group. In late 1995, I was steered away from Hallam by a mechanical contractor to learn the installation side of the business. Yes, I decided to leave Hallam for the first time.

I had made great friends while I was at Hallam and in fact, hung out with them doing this thing called boating. I was fortunate to boat with Tink and Scott King during these times, so I could keep up with all the happenings at Hallam. In September 1996, Scott King, famous for his methods of persuasion, convinced me to come back to Hallam. Scott had me working on a very difficult project that had all of us working very long hours. I remember telling Scott in a sarcastic way, “thanks for improving my life”, but we made it through that tough project. Later, Tink had me working in his group full time as a project manager for their controls designs and installations. I learned a lot with this group, and I was fortunate to have folks there to mentor me and have faith in my abilities.

In April 2006 I left Hallam to move to Oregon. My wife needed to go back to her home town to be closer to her parents and spend time with them. From June 2006 to June 2014, I worked for a large engineering firm in Oregon.

In July 2014, Jeff Silcox asked me to join Hallam-ICS as a mechanical engineer working remotely from Oregon for our Massachusetts office. Working remotely was appealing to me as I had left my previous employer to get a break from all the traveling the job required. So ever since, I have been working with Jeff’s group and he has exposed me to new challenges in the food industry or whatever else is up his sleeve!

I am on my third tour of duty with Hallam-ICS; I keep coming back, and I appreciate all the experiences they have provided me over all these years.