What is your biggest current challenge at work?

At present, one of the foremost priorities of our leadership team is the cultivation of a company culture centered on exceeding our clients' needs and expectations. Specifically, we're focused on envisioning the future of our firm, with an emphasis on differentiating and elevating our brand within a commoditized AEC marketplace. Our ultimate goal is to pave a path for enduring, sustainable growth built on consistently delivering excellence and unmatched value and service to our clients at every touchpoint.


What keeps you up at night?

Similar to many, I share concerns about the current economic landscape and its implications for the commercial real estate industry, as well as how those conditions may impact our firm. The inherent uncertainty surrounding these conditions underscores the importance of effective, strategic, and proactive decision-making needed to navigate the challenges that may be ahead.


What project is your company most proud of?

Selecting just one project from our extensive 64- year history is quite a challenge. One standout project that significantly propelled SK&A's growth during the 80s and early 90s was the Crystal Park complex in Arlington, VA. Developed and constructed by the Charles E. Smith Companies over an 8-year period, this 5.5 million SF, 9-building mixed-use complex firmly established SK&A as a preferred engineering partner for major developers. In more recent years, we take immense pride in projects that have made significant placemaking impacts, such as CityCenterDC and both phases of The Wharf. Additionally, iconic projects like The International Spy Museum and the DC Water HQ showcase our commitment to excellence and innovation in engineering.


How does your ABC membership help your company?

Membership in ABC opens doors for us to broaden our industry network, collaborate with partners from diverse disciplines and trades, and bolster our presence in the market. By nurturing collaborative relationships, we gain insights from clients and better understand how our firm can align with our partners' objectives, ultimately leading to more meaningful contributions and shared success.


What did you want to be when you grew up? 

I was always drawn to the mechanics of things, fascinated by how machines operated and the process of building things. While I entertained numerous career ideas in my younger years, one enduring dream was to fly. I even applied to the Naval Academy, inspired by the prospect of becoming a fighter pilot. This was long before the release of the original Top Gun movie. While I didn’t make the cut for that particular aspiration, my passion for flight endured, leading me to consider Aerospace Engineering as a major in college. However, my trajectory shifted when I discovered Architectural Engineering shortly before starting college—a path that felt like the perfect fit and has since proven to be my professional calling.


Tell us something no one in the industry knows about you.

Here are some lesser-known facts about me:

- I've backpacked several sections of the Appalachian Trail in five different states, fully conquering the length of the trail in two of the fourteen states in which it is located. Each year I get back out and add to the distance I have covered.

- I was the first in my family to go to college.

- Before joining SK&A, I ran a licensed home improvement business on the side.


What do you look forward to each day?

Each day I look forward to the opportunity to engage with staff members, whenever and however I can, to share lessons learned, past experiences, and technical or business expertise that can help support their growth and development as engineers, and as leaders. For more than three decades, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with a diverse pool of clients, colleagues, mentors, and industry professionals, while leading the structural design on a broad range of projects from multi-building developments to revitalizing of existing buildings through substantial renovations or adaptive reuse transformations. Now I can impart some of that acquired knowledge to our emerging talent and future leaders.


What is your favorite movie or TV show?

With my passion for flying and my early dreams of becoming a fighter pilot, it's no surprise that my favorite movie is the original Top Gun. What makes it even more special is that back in 1986, when my wife and I started dating, we went to see Top Gun in the theater together as one of our first dates. Now, nearly 40 years later, it still holds a special place in our hearts as one of our all-time favorite films.


What book are you currently reading? 

These days, I'm not so much reading as I am listening to audiobooks during my long commute. Several months ago, I stumbled upon a series of books by C.J. Box featuring the central character Joe Pickett, a game warden in Wyoming. The storylines, coupled with their integration of nature and wide-open spaces, resonate with me. I've now completed at least a dozen books in the series. On the professional front, I'm revisiting the Stephen Covey classic, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.


What business/career advice do you wish you had when you began?

One piece of advice I frequently share with our staff is the paramount importance of relationships in our industry. It's not merely about navigating the day-to-day transactions of the project at hand; it's about transcending emails and fostering authentic connections with others.


What was your first job?

I guess my first job was mowing neighborhood lawns, using my dad's trusty tractor and likely his fuel as well. As for my initial foray into the official workforce, I was a dishwasher at a buffet restaurant in Westminster, MD.


Established in 1960, SK&A has a long history of delivering superior client-focused engineering services for a diverse array of projects throughout the region, and beyond. SK&A offers a full suite of structural-related consulting services, including analysis, design, repair, restoration, testing, and inspection, as well as building enclosure and waterproofing consulting.


Headshot of Scott


Scott Stewart
President & Managing Principal