Leading the way in mechanical engineering
Robert G. Huntington ’56 was part of the first class of mechanical engineering graduates. He went on to earn an M.S. in engineering from Harvard University and a P.M.D. from Harvard Business School. He is owner and principal of Huntington Consultants. Robert has more than 35 years of management and technical experience in pollution control, heat transfer and energy recovery businesses serving a wide variety of industries – from cement and steel-making to power generation, waste to energy, petroleum refining and metallurgical. For over 25 years, he served as a senior executive operating and technical officer of three leading international pollution control companies. His responsibilities have included corporate profitability, marketing, production, engineering, construction, finance, R&D and corporate acquisition/divesture. He also planned, founded and staffed several subsidiary companies in the U.S., Great Britain and Brazil, and has engaged in corporate business ventures or projects around the world. Since 1994, through Huntington Consultants, he has provided consulting services to U.S. and international clients, including strategic planning, forecasting, marketing, product improvement, product design, specification preparation, organization, business valuations and acquisition strategies. Additional consulting services include operational troubleshooting, design, industrial air pollution control compliance planning and due diligence services /asset valuations for international acquisitions. Robert holds seven patents and is an active Union alumnus. He served on the Board of Trustee Advisors and was chairman of the Dean’s Engineering Council. He is a member of Terrace Council, Union’s leadership giving society, and president of his class. Robert is also past president of the Glimmerglass Opera Guild, past director of the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and past director of the Pro Musicale Rara (Baroque Music Society). He is a member of the Samuel Huntington (Historic Preservation) Trust and the New York State Historical Association.
What are/were the most challenging aspects of your career? What are/were the most rewarding?
Preparing for the challenges of the Clean Air Act, including developing my personal qualifications, forming a design/build business unit to supply industry with multi-million dollar environmental solutions, and running the resulting business in a responsible and profitable way. This was especially rewarding because it very successfully utilized many of my technical and business skills in a fast-track environment. These attributes and resulting experience were additionally rewarding when I founded a consulting business in 1994 that operated in this same market.
How has your engineering degree been useful in another field?
In my first job, I was a project manager leading an effort to develop an environmental thermo-electric air-cooling device for nuclear submarine use. The prototype I developed was placed on the SSN Thresher for trials. My mechanical engineering degree provided the foundation for the complex heat transfer and solid state Peltier performance analysis that was required.
What was your most formative experience at Union?
I started at Union in liberal arts (chemistry) and switched into mechanical engineering my sophomore year, requiring substantial catching up of many engineering prerequisite courses. This required extreme effort, coupled with my participation in athletics and fraternity affairs, I was challenged to manage my time effectively. This experience carried over to my professional endeavors.
What’s the best piece of advice (professional or personal) you ever received?
To not give up when things become difficult or when problems appear unsolvable.