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Andrew Bevilacqua has been a civil engineer for more than 30 years. With that banked experience, it was time for him to take on the new challenge of the town engineer post in North Haven. (Photo by Nathan Hughart/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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Andrew Bevilacqua came on as town engineer at the end of September 2018, but he says North Haven has already become a second home to him in his 30-plus years of civil engineering.
His civil engineering career began and had, until now, been entirely with Diversify Technology Consultants (DTC). The company is now based in Hamden, but for the majority of his time there it was in North Haven.
He says there was a natural draw to his chosen field.
“From just being a young kid, I always knew that I wanted to get into something that involved design,” Andy says. “It’s just the way my mind worked.”
He considered architecture and other construction fields, but civil engineering stood out to him.
“The great thing about being a civil engineer is that you affect a lot of peoples’ lives. The projects that you do help people,” he says. “That was always a big interest of mine.”
He started out with DTC while pursuing his degree from the University of New Haven when it was still a small company. Thirty years later, he’s returning to North Haven looking for a new challenge.
“I managed the civil engineering department there for many, many years,” Andy says. “Almost all the work we did there was municipal, state, or federal…so I’ve been working with many towns throughout the state for many years.”
Andy says he watched DTC grow throughout his career from small projects, like individual drainage problems, to large ones like the reconstruction of roadways.
“I got to see the company grow from this little ma-and-pa outfit to a real big corporation and it was exciting to be part of that,” he says.
This isn’t even Andy’s first time as North Haven’s town engineer. Andy actually worked the job for a year and a half when DTC was contracted to fill the position while the town searched for Andy’s predecessor, Jonathan Bodwell, in 2007.
Andy says, “one of those things that I always thought about during my career was maybe ending my career [by] being a town engineer.”
When Bodwell decided to retire in 2018, it made sense for Andy to take the job.
“We did a lot of work in town. I kind of considered North Haven to be my second home,” Andy says.
After more than three decades in the consulting business, he was looking for a change in experience—and he says all of that experience adds up to the knowledge required for such a varied position.
“I understood very well where consultants were coming from…but didn’t have as good an understanding or appreciation for what it’s like to essentially be the owner, the town engineer,” he says.
He says his new role has much more direct interaction with the public that benefits from his work.
“It definitely is a lot of collaboration and also involving the public to get their input…to understand what their concerns are for projects,” Andy says. “If you don’t have that kind of input, you’re working in a vacuum.”
A lot of his responsibilities as town engineer revolve around the Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC). He helps applicants comply with town site regulations and he attends meetings to help explain the project and conducts public information meetings.
“If you’re not used to working with plans every day, [when] somebody plops a plan in your lap, it doesn’t mean anything to you,” he says. “I like to be up front and honest with people right off the bat. I don’t like to sugarcoat things.”
He says that public input plays a part in nearly every project.
“If you’re designing [a project] without understanding the public input, then there’s things you’re definitely going to miss,” Andy says. “The public lives [in] these locations…they know what the problems are.”
Beyond that, Andy is answering the phone when residents call in with an infrastructure issue or he’s out at a site diagnosing a problem himself.
“Being a town engineer, you need to have a lot of varied experience,” Andy says. “You’ve got to really understand this stuff.”
From solving minor drainage problems to large-scale projects like the roadway reconstruction work on Universal Drive or bridge construction like the upcoming project to replace the Sackett Point Road, a town engineer needs to be prepared for anything.
“To me it’s just very interesting to be able to identify a problem and to investigate a variety of solutions to solve that problem. There’s always a hundred ways to skin a cat,” Andy says. “I always enjoyed looking at each one of those options [to solve a problem] and deciding what makes the most sense.”
To nominate a Person of the Week, email Nathan Hughart at n.hughart@Zip06.com.
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