, New Hire Spotlight: Michael Zellers, P.E. — Fire Protection Engineer, Harrington Group Inc
Michael Zellers with his wife and daughter

Joining a volunteer fire department sparked Michael Zellers’ initial interest in fire protection. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering — which he described as a “good catch-all” for exploring engineering career options — he became an active firefighter and was immediately drawn in by the opportunity to help people. He was working as a fleet management engineer for U.S. Airways at the time, and after about five years he began searching for a fire-related career shift.

“I was actually looking into designing PPE, firefighting equipment, fire apparatus, something more directly related to the fire service, because that was what I knew,” Michael said. “With fire protection engineering and life safety, you’re making sure these buildings don’t become hazards to the occupants. You’re applying what you do as a firefighter to building designs, and really there’s no other industry where you can do that.”

He then spent about six years with Michael Baker International, where he did sprinkler and fire alarm design for the U.S. Department of Defense and other federal programs. He sat for the P.E. in late 2017, and is now a registered fire protection engineer in five states.

As one of Harrington Group’s newest fire protection engineers, Michael joined the team in early September. He’s eager to expand his areas of expertise and soak up as much as he can from his new colleagues.

“Asking questions and learning from the folks who know more than me is how I got where I am,” he said. “I’m hitting the reset button a little bit, learning something new, and I’m up for the challenge. I’m looking forward to getting up to speed as soon as possible and being useful as soon as I can.”

Michael lives with his wife in the Pittsburgh area, where he was born and raised. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, mountain biking and spending time with his daughter, who just started kindergarten.