Heyward’s Steve Rea was among 10 new members recently inducted into the North Carolina State Universities Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Alumni Hall of Fame.
The MAE Alumni Hall of Fame was established in 2012 to inspire current students, and to celebrate accomplishments of those extraordinary graduates who have used their education to excel in a profession, career or service. The nomination is based on professional and service achievement, entrepreneurship and contributions to professional societies.
With over 12,000 MAE alumni, only 142, have been inducted into the MAE Hall of Fame. MAE alumni traveled from all corners of the world to be recognized for their achievements.
Steve completed his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1980 and his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering in 1986; both at NC State. While at NC State, he chaired the ASME student section, held the position of student body chairman, lettered in men’s soccer for three seasons, and was one of the two co-founders of the now well-known Wolfline; an area bus line serving the students, staff, faculty, and general public on and around North Carolina State University’s campus.
When asked about the MAE Hall of Fame induction, Steve responded “The Induction into the NC State Hall of Fame came as a wonderful surprise. This was a very humbling experience. It’s inescapable that one thinks back about how this recognition came about. So, two things stood out – my years at NC State and the 32 years with Heyward. But more specifically, the relationships that came out of those organizational associations made this possible. And I must say it’s been a great privilege to have worked with some of the finest NC State graduate engineers and the professional technical sales engineers and sales staff at Heyward.”
Steve Rea is the Senior Vice President for Nuclear Special Projects for Heyward in Charlotte, NC. Throughout his 32 years at Heyward, Rea has brought state of the art large capital equipment solutions to the local Power Industry with numerous projects including:
– the first coal power plant all membrane based raw water/demin water treatment system
– the largest in the U.S. at the time custom gas turbine power plant inlet air chilling system
– the only nuclear plant project response to the Fukushima event using the industry’s only true zero leakage metal seated ball valves for isolation
– the first CEDI based high purity water treatment system for the latest U.S. Nuclear Plant being built
– the first automation of a nuclear safety system with the latest generation nuclear safety qualified motor operators
– the first new coal fired power plant built with smart technology motor operators
Rea gained valuable nuclear plant engineering experience working for Duke’s Brunswick and Harris Nuclear sites. At Harris, he was the Senior Engineer leading the development of the industry’s first cloud-based site-wide configuration control system.
Reflecting on highlights of his years at Heyward, Steve said “I met and worked with great customers and factory partners. Then there were the experiences shared with customers and factory partners such as throwing out the opening pitch at a Pittsburgh Pirates Game, zipping around the Charlotte NASCAR track, flying to Minnesota just after 911 with one other person on the plane, seeing Liverpool FC win at Anfield, watching the Wolfpack beat Louisville at the Belk Bowl with 15 other NC State Alum/Customers, reconnecting with State Football Coach, Chuck Amato, at the third Belk Bowl and introducing my son, Tyler, to him. A priceless side note is Coach Amato told Tyler his Dad was a very good soccer player.”
Other highlights noted by Steve included “Meeting Mario Andretti at a customer event, being recognized by NC State Athletics at Carter Finley in the presence of one of Heyward’s best customers and his wife, seeing a Wells Fargo Tournament round with a customer/former LPGA pro golfer, receiving a tour of the NC Supreme Court by the Chief Justice and debating him about the place for solar power in power generation.”
Steve has proudly represented Heyward and the industry by serving as an Industrial Rep Chairman for 10 years for one of Heyward’s principals; as well as being credited by another principal for being “the best at what I did in the world”.
Steve continued, “But most of all, my greatest remembrance will be experiencing the resurgence of Heyward’s Power and Industrial business and what that success meant to addressing customer needs, providing jobs at Heyward, and jobs at the factories we represented.”
In addition to his many achievements and “firsts”, Rea was the first member in his family to be a NC Army National Guard officer. Steve strongly believes in giving back through service. Impressed with the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, Steve and his wife, Phyllis, decided to honor NC State by becoming donors to the NCSU Libraries in 2015, and since then have supported the Libraries broadly. Most significantly, the Reas established the Stephen and Phyllis Rea Endowment for Mechanical Engineering Collections in order to provide resources for all students, and particularly those in the College of Engineering, to prepare them for professional life after graduation.
Steve offered the following advice to current MAE students “Get involved outside the classroom. Network with your classmates and other students. Reach out, give a firm handshake, look the other student in the eye and smile. Then go from there.”
Heyward is very proud of Steve and his many accomplishments! Congratulations Steve!