Getting to know Bryan Chester

November 30, 2020

Bryan Chester, PE wears many hats at HLZAE (and no, not just hardhats!). He is a Senior Structural Engineer and with that title comes a wide array of responsibilities.  Structural Engineers are primarily concerned with the structural capacity of buildings and their components, as well as improving or restoring the structural integrity of existing buildings. He manages a team of four, mentors young engineers and serves as an in-house structural consultant for architects and mechanical teams. He also oversees special inspections, performs emergency inspections, directs emergency shoring/safety activities following significant fire events and is a certified Industrial Rope Access Technician. When he is not doing the above, he manages typical façade restoration projects.

Bryan has been in the industry for almost 11 years. It shouldn’t be surprising that from the very beginning he has always been a hands-on person, fascinated by the way things are built and assembled. As a child, Legos were his go-to toy and his favorite subjects in school were always math and science. He went on to pursue his passion and graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a degree in civil engineering. It may appear that Bryan gravitates towards structure and composition, but what he enjoys most about working at HLZAE is quite the opposite. Because of his role at the firm, each day is always different. There have been many instances where things just didn’t go according to plan, but he always prioritizes everyone else’s project needs before his own.  He consults for both the architectural and mechanical teams so it’s always a fun game of “guess who?” when someone stops at his desk. Interestingly enough, he finds that life is more exhilarating this way. Because each day is unique and unpredictable, there is never a dull moment.

As an engineer in New York City and having the opportunity to see the city from a different perspective, Bryan has learned to never take the city’s views for granted. The views and the city alone are the best parts of his job.

His favorite project to date has been working on the vault replacement at 377 Broadway. The assignment consists of vault framing replacement that houses the boilers for the property below and supports sidewalk and private roadway above. Bryan designed the long span steel beams as well as many other concrete members. Another interesting aspect of his position, which can also be considered the most difficult, is that he usually doesn’t receive plans for existing buildings. Some of these structures were built over a hundred years ago, which makes obtaining the drawings nearly impossible. When structural problems arise, it’s Bryan’s job to figure out what was built, how it was built and the best way to address the current conditions. There’s never a way of truly finding out what’s behind the walls until he opens them up for investigation.

When Bryan isn’t saving the city one building at a time, he enjoys traveling, concerts and surfing primarily during the winter. His favorite skyscraper is The Woolworth Building because of the building’s design, construction and legacy in thorough detail. Bryan’s life mantra is taking each day as it comes because you never know what hand you’re going to get dealt next. He is an integral part of the machine that is HLZAE and if it weren’t for him, let’s just say there would be far less structure.

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