People Spotlight: Meet David Stahl
Our People Spotlight series gives you an inside look at our technical experts around the world. This week, we are highlighting a senior construction manager in our Water business line in New York Metro region and providing insight into their environmental remediation inspiration and work.
David is a vice president and senior construction manager in AECOM’s Water business line in New York Metro region. With 32 years of experience in environmental engineering and construction management, David has managed construction projects in New York City for agencies such as the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, NYC Housing Authority, and Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority.
Tell us about what inspired you to join the industry.
I grew up in a blue-collar household — my father was a steel worker — and he always told me to respect the craft. I started right out of college as a design engineer and was tasked to build what I “put on paper,” which was how I fell in love with the construction side of the business. I truly enjoy managing construction and coordinating activities with the general contractor and all of the construction trades.
What is your favorite project that you’ve worked on and why?
I’ve found that projects that involve restoring the environment and remediating hazardous waste are among the most interesting and challenging. From the Aleutian Islands in Alaska to North Carolina and New York, I’ve worked on projects where we successfully removed and disposed of thousands of tons of hazardous soil and treated millions of gallons of contaminated water. Being a part of restoring ecosystems and bringing clean, safe drinking water to communities is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.
Tell us a story of how your work positively impacted the community.
For more than 30 years, my work has focused on delivering water and wastewater projects for the city of New York, and I can assure you that New York’s infrastructure is historically one of the best. One of the most impactful projects I’ve worked on was the emergency response at NYCDEP’s North River plant after a fire destroyed the main pumping systems. Within 48 hours after the fire was extinguished, pumping capacity was restored and the plant was operational again. I then managed nine contracts for emergency restoration to increase pumping capacity and rebuild the damaged portion of the plant.
The work I’ve done throughout my career informs everything I do now as a construction manager with AECOM, including taking on challenging projects such as Value Engineering (VE) studies for the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission in New Jersey and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. I look forward to more experiences where I can bring world-class services to solve our clients’ most complex challenges and truly live up to our promise of delivering a better world.
Share a piece of career advice.
Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Take on a new task and accept that challenge, even if you’ve never done it before. It’s the only way you will grow. I’ve passed this advice on to my children, challenging them to take on tasks that may be a bit uncomfortable. Watching them grow and mature through the process is a pleasure.