Engineering Leaders 2021

We are excited to announce nineteen new leaders in our firm! These fantastic consultants and engineers are committed to the success of our clients. They are good listeners, excellent communicators, and creative designers.  We celebrate their achievements and look forward to the opportunities 2021 will bring!

 

Partner

Paul Kitchens, PE - Partner

What do you like most about Newcomb & Boyd?

The wide variety of interesting and challenging projects that we are a part of.  Some of the laboratory projects we work on generate cutting-edge research that directly benefits our world.  We are patrons of the healthcare systems we serve. We’ve designed offices both for our clients and for ourselves. The feedback loop on our work is both tangible and meaningful.  Now that I am local to clients that I have served throughout my career, I have enjoyed my daily work even more.

What drew you to Newcomb & Boyd originally? And how has Newcomb & Boyd changed since?

My dad was an HVAC engineer, but when he described his job to me, it sounded like just a bunch of ducts and pipes (once I came to the unfortunate realization that he didn’t work on a train). I didn’t have any interest in following in his footsteps. However, when I interviewed for different co-op positions after my first year at Georgia Tech, one company stood out from the others. I interviewed with Todd Mowinski, and we talked about our mutual love for Jeeps and our shared experiences in Boy Scouts. I walked out of the first interview knowing I had found the right place for me. I’m happy to report that MEP design has been far more interesting than I thought!

What is your favorite part about working for Newcomb & Boyd?

The people. From birthdays to marriages to children’s births and loved ones passing, my co-workers have always been there for me.  Because we spend more time in the office than we do in our homes, I couldn’t work somewhere that didn’t feel like “family”.

What is your favorite/proudest moment at Newcomb & Boyd?

When I was first allowed to put my initials on a drawing as the designer. I was a co-op student working in one of my last semesters at Newcomb & Boyd, and the project was a pair of small lab renovations in the Nanaline Building at Duke University. I really appreciated the trust that others had in me and took the responsibility very seriously.

Advice for a successful career in this industry?

Never stop learning. If we only repeated past designs, our careers would not be very fulfilling. Instead, we should always be asking questions, learning about other trades, and striving to make engineering invisible to the typical space user.

Three things you can’t live without?

Pizza, video games, and biking.

What is your favorite thing to do?

When I was a teenager, I camped at least once a month, and even as an adult, I frequently camped with friends in college. However, after our first child, we didn’t camp again for nearly 8 years. Now that our youngest is 4 years old, we’ve been 3 times in the past year! It has been great teaching my kids all the things they need to know. We plan to try our first family hike-in overnight trip in the spring at Eno River State Park.

What is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?

Kalalau Valley on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. On our honeymoon, we hiked 3 miles to a ridge overlooking the Kalalau Valley from 4,000 feet up. Three years later, we visited the valley and hiked 11 miles, one-way, to spend a couple of nights at the bottom. Highlights of that trip included my wife almost sliding down a 500-foot cliff, more fruit trees than I knew existed, and crossing paths with a group of people howling like the animals that permanently inhabit the area.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

In my retirement, I would like to do something completely unrelated to science or engineering. I haven’t put my finger on what that could mean yet, but possibly something related to history. I ignored liberal arts throughout most of my high school and college days, and as an adult, I realize that was a mistake. I’m fascinated by what I’ve read about past events and civilizations.

Paul Kitchen - casual pictures

Associate Partner

Bo Laraia, Associate Partner

What drew you to Newcomb & Boyd originally?

Prior to relocating from Connecticut to Charleston, I searched for firms whose portfolio included high-profile, complex, and challenging projects, as these were the types of projects I was accustomed to working on. The only local firm that fit the bill was Newcomb & Boyd. After speaking with Donny Walker on the phone, and then being invited to the Charleston office to meet Donny, Andrew Dymek, and the rest of the Charleston office in person, I knew Newcomb & Boyd would be a good fit for me.

What has been your favorite project at Newcomb & Boyd?

Soon after joining Newcomb & Boyd, I visited the Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) campus in Pensacola, Florida. Little did I know at the time that this would be the beginning of a long-term engagement with NFCU, working on numerous projects across several of their corporate sites. I have enjoyed the challenge of re-designing the entire telecommunications cabling infrastructure for their 1.1 million square foot facility in Vienna, Virginia.

What is your favorite part about working for Newcomb & Boyd?

I love collaborating with coworkers across all three offices. I also appreciate the opportunity to be involved with projects in market sectors that I had less exposure to in previous careers. Every market sector has unique attributes and challenges. Specifically, I had minimal Healthcare experience and no experience with Aviation. Working on numerous projects at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, and at the Charleston International Airport have been great learning opportunities.

What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far? 

My daughter was diagnosed with cancer at age 7, so watching her go through tests, surgery, procedures, and a year of treatment made for a challenging few years. Now, at age 21, she remains cancer-free. She has been an advocate, participant, and speaker for several pediatric cancer causes, including the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and Penn State THON, where last year, the students raised $11.7 million.

Where is your favorite place to be?

The beach. Now that I’m in Charleston, I live within a few miles from Isle of Palms, where my family had vacationed for nearly 20 years! Outside of the U.S., I’ve vacationed in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico and love the beaches there too. I’m looking forward to traveling again once COVID-19 is behind us.

Favorite Quote

When I was in high school, a teacher would often tell us, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

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