We are pleased to welcome Eric Pawelek, P.E., our new Chief Mechanical Engineer, back to Epstein! For those who have been around awhile, you may remember him from his previous stint at Epstein from July 1989 to March 1994.
Eric earned his Associate’s Degree in architectural technology at Oakton Community College (go Owls!) and his Bachelor of Science in civil engineering, with a minor in structural engineering, at the Illinois Institute of Technology (go Hawks!).
His fondness of building construction began with three years of drafting/architecture classes at Maine South High School (go Hawks! – Eric, it seems you’ve got quite the affinity for birds of prey!). Beginning his sophomore year of college, Eric worked part-time as a draftsman during the school year and full-time during the summer for a mechanical contractor.
His slightly more than 37-year career has been a blend of working for mechanical contractors (24 years) and A/E or engineering firms (13.5 years). His experience spans a gambit of educational, food and pharmaceutical, government, healthcare, hospitality, industrial, office and multi-family residential and utility infrastructure facilities. Eric’s favorite and most rewarding project was being involved in the construction of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
He was born in Chicago and lived his early childhood just east of the Jefferson Park neighborhood. When he was 7-years-old, Eric’s family moved to Park Ridge, which is where he spent his formidable years. Shortly after completing college, he moved to Arlington Heights, and still resides there now – 30 years later.
Working with young adults in their career development is a “pay-it-forward” undertaking Eric has chosen in retrospect of how his own career began. In the past, he has been a mentor and judge in Next Generation Innovators Challenge, a high school engineering competition. He has also worked with career centers and programs at several universities, and plans to continue doing so.
His favorite getaway destinations are the Caribbean Islands, particularly the Cayman Islands, and Europe. While at home, he enjoys bicycling and hiking. He also used to coach and manage youth soccer. And he’s even been known to get out there and play an occasional game with the “Hurtin Hounds” in a men’s over 40 indoor soccer league.
Having played piano as a youth and trombone in high school, Eric has an eclectic taste in music, but developed an affinity for Jazz with an emphasis on saxophone. He proclaims Chicago’s Jazz Fest is the best.
Cooking any type of food on the grill (summer or winter) is fair game for Eric; although it is closely followed by whipping up various types of wicked French toast. Eric, are we talking banana bread French toast? Dark chocolate stuffed French toast? We the people need to know!
Eric, we are glad to have you back! And not (solely) because of those French toast skills.