Working to do better: Stephen Hayduk, Jr.

Apr 09, 2023

Principal and chief engineer at Hayduk Engineering, a multidisciplinary consulting engineering firm specializing in civil and wastewater engineering.

By Liisa Andreassen

When Stephen Hayduk, Jr. started out in the business 15 years ago, it was just him and his father working out of his dad’s house. Today, he’s a principal and the chief engineer at Hayduk Engineering (Port Jefferson, NY) and the company is nearing 40 employees. Future plans include continued growth. Some of the most significant changes that have taken place (aside from the growth) have been the modernization and standardization in the company’s engineering production work.

Hayduk Engineering has an interesting history – one that actually started in the 1980s when Stephen Hayduk, Sr.’s company was at the forefront in terms of technology in engineering design. And, as a result of the firm’s stellar reputation, he was appointed the commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Public Works in 1992. After his election to office, he had to close the consulting firm for the next five years during his tenure as commissioner of a 900-employee department.

After reemerging in private practice five years later, a lot had changed in the industry where advancements in computer aided drafting and design software/modeling software were concerned. Enter Stephen Hayduk, Jr.

“When I came on board, I was heavily involved in bringing the business back up to speed and in helping to update the current engineering technology and software and creating and implementing standards that we’re still advancing today,” Hayduk, Jr. says.

Currently, Hayduk, Jr. is primarily focused on high-level business management and special projects. This was just a natural progression as he grew within the business and gained more responsibility over the years. His father concentrates more on the firm’s overall strategic plan.

He says that he probably spends about 50 percent of his time working on engineering projects/staff management and the other 50 percent doing business management, business development, and working on proposals. He’s also focused on business growth, developing and enhancing their team’s abilities, and securing more engineering contracts as a prime consultant with New York state agencies.

Hayduk Engineering is certified by New York state as a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Business, and they receive a good deal of new work with New York state agencies through this certification as a subconsultant to other engineering firms.

“We have a strong client base with local governmental agencies throughout Long Island and New York state, and are looking to build on that with all of the new experience we have obtained working on New York state projects. We want to develop relationships with the agencies and win contracts as a prime. So far, we’ve been successful in this endeavor,” he says.

And, due to their continued growth, they’ve steadily added more staff members to their office and have had to renovate and modify the space several times. They’re currently at capacity and are seeking a new, larger office space, but in the interim, they have still had to hire more staff. While they prefer to have employees work in the office because they find it more efficient and necessary for collaboration, they have agreed to telecommuting to help solve space issues until they move into a more accommodating space. And even then, policies will be somewhat flexible as needed.

“One of the silver linings of COVID-19 has been the adjustment in the business world to using video conferencing and allowing for telecommuting in the workplace,” Hayduk, Jr. says. “We still hold many of our meetings with clients in-person, but more routine coordination meetings on projects and internal team meetings are held via video conferencing which is actually much more time efficient.”

So, what’s it like to work side by side as father and son?

“Honestly, we don’t have many challenges in our working relationship,” Hayduk, Jr. says. “Sure, sometimes we have different outlooks and opinions on a situation, but that tends to keep us balanced in our decision making. We respect and trust each other immensely and I think that shows in how we have managed and grown the business.”

And while they do work together, he values the importance of trying to separate work from family time.

“I have several family members who work at Hayduk Engineering,” he says. “Overall, I feel that we do a good job at keeping them separate and maintaining a professional work environment here, but there are moments when it can overlap in certain situations.”

He says that they’re “always working to do better.” And, this do-better attitude comes through in staff and client dealings too.

Hayduk says that they have several repeat clients and he attributes this to honesty, transparency, and commitment. He also believes that you have to be organized, energetic, and driven while simultaneously being understanding, patient, and compassionate when dealing with clients – and staff as well.

“We’ve always managed to maintain an environment that makes our staff feel like they are part of a family, and a lot of people really appreciate that and enjoy working in that type of space,” he says.

As a result, Hayduk has low employee turnover. He says that one thing he has definitely learned over the years is that “I realize how much I don’t know.” He knows the importance of realizing your limitations and capabilities and understanding that you can’t be good at everything.

“Develop a team of people around you who have those skills and knowledge-base and learn to delegate and rely on others where necessary,” he says.

Hayduk works routinely with local colleges to both give back to the community as well as for recruiting purposes. They have strong ties with Stony Brook University and Rochester Institute of Technology – where both Hayduks attended school. They’ve sponsored senior projects where they’ve developed a real-world project and then assisted the students in preparing the engineering design documents. They’ve also brought on interns or co-op students, and hire college graduates every year.

A competitive benefits package and salaries serve as the primary attractors and Hayduk also encourages professional development, and maintains a professional and collaborative, but fun work environment. There are regular team lunches, bagels every Friday morning, company events, and more.

“We truly care about all of our employees,” Hayduk says. 

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