Harrington Group is pleased to welcome Jesse Piotrowicz to the team as the newest Senior Property Loss Control Engineer. Jesse comes to us from FM Global, where he worked for more than six years, most recently as a Senior Consultant Engineer.

Like a lot of folks in this industry, when Jesse was a college student, he didn’t know that fire protection engineering was a career option. He earned a BS in mechanical engineering from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in 2007, and a few years later went on to earn his MS in the same field from the University of Southern California.

The first time he encountered the field of fire protection was shortly after undergrad, when on assignment to a project for the Department of Energy in Tennessee, he met someone who represented the fire suppression and control aspect of the project.

“It’s a chance to help keep people safe and prevent disasters,” Jesse said. “I think it’s a very rewarding application for my technical background, preventing loss.”

When Jesse was a senior in high school, the US Forest Service near his hometown of Los Alamos, NM lost control of a prescribed burn due to high winds and drought conditions. Known as the Cerro Grande Fire, the disastrous blaze destroyed more than 400 homes, including his wife’s family’s house. It nearly destroyed his own family’s home, but the fire department managed to foam down the roof and save it.

“That was an example to me of how destructive fire can be,” Jesse said. “It also gave me an appreciation for the people who go out there and fight fire professionally.”

Jesse said that experience came to mind when he began working at FM Global and realized he could make a career out of property protection.

There’s a lot of overlap between mechanical engineering and fire protection engineering — fluid and thermal systems, heat transfer, thermodynamics, combustion — so for him, the transition was a natural one. Although he enjoyed helping with pure research in combustion for his Master’s degree, Jesse said he was eager to find concrete applications for his knowledge and skills.

“When I discovered fire protection engineering, I thought it was a great way to bring together the theoretical aspects with the practical to prevent disaster by fire,” he said.

The field is multifaceted and multidisciplinary, which Jesse said is a great fit for his personality — he has a hard time doing the same thing for too long, and he appreciates that one day is almost always different from the next. That element of the job is both challenging and rewarding.

Jesse’s first day with Harrington Group was in early February and he, his wife, and their six-year-old son are looking forward to relocating to Atlanta in May. The family enjoys riding bikes and birdwatching — they’re up to 75 species identified this year already, and they can’t wait to haul their binoculars and cameras to the parks around their new home. Jesse and his wife love trying different international cuisines, and they’re eager to check out the restaurants of Atlanta’s dining scene.