Mexican Native is President of New Cumberland Company

Paul Navarro is a busy man. It does not appear that his status will change anytime soon. “With the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, being a board member of Harrisburg University, activities with the American Council of Engineering Companies and my own business, I can confirm that, yes, I’m busy,” he smiles.

The 52-year-old Lower Swatara Township man is president of Navarro & Wright Consulting Engineers, New Cumberland.

Before establishing his own company in 1996, Navarro was employed by others, which provided a wealth of training and experience that prepared him (and former partner, Chuck Wright) for success. Included in that number are regional giant Gannett-Fleming and Lancaster-based ARRO Consultants, formerly Acer Engineers & Consultants, Inc.

“Gannett-Fleming was my initial job out of college,” he states. “They now sub-contract work to our company for surveying, geo-technical and environmental. I was with Acer for a little over seven years. Chuck and I carpooled to Lancaster and that’s how we developed our working relationship. At Acer I had the opportunity to work on big projects, some of them overseas. I reconnected to my Latin American roots during time in Venezuela and Chile. While there, I worked with top-notch engineers. Learned a lot; not only engineering, but about the marketplace, too.”

Navarro & Wright Consulting Engineers, Inc. began in the basement of Navarro’s home. “Chuck and I each put up $25,000 to get started and obtained a line of credit,” he says. “Initially, there were four of us in the company. After two years, my wife not so subtly suggested that it was time to find another location, as our family was growing. We moved to our present site in 1998.”

The real estate boom of the 1990s produced revenue for the fledgling company, and more employees were brought on board. “At first, we worked with residential builders like Yingst, Fine Line and McNaughton,” says Navarro. “We hired a land surveyor to help us more efficiently perform land subdivision projects. Demand for this service grew dramatically and, today, land surveying comprises approximately 20 percent of our overall business.”

The balance of Navarro & Wright’s business involves water and sewer utilities, site and civil engineering (structures and additions) and transportation needs…roads and bridges in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Beyond professional obligations, the Hispanic Chamber, of which he is president, consumes much of Navarro’s time. Founded in 2007, it endeavors to reach the regional Hispanic market through various events, networking and a speakers’ slate. “We had about 72 members at one time, but the poor economy in recent years has had its effect,” he says. “Now there about 50 to 52. One of the important things that we try to do is match our members with opportunities for new work. We also provide guidance on sources of financing, and offer other business training activities.”

Born in La Barca, Mexico, Navarro emigrated to the United States with his family in 1975. “My father’s cousin had been in Pennsylvania for some time when he was laid off from his job at Bethlehem Steel,” he says. “He started knocking on doors in Steelton, offering minor construction services, and that effort eventually grew into a thriving enterprise. He called my father and persuaded him to join the business.”

Navarro graduated from Bishop McDevitt High School. “My parents wanted me to go to a Catholic school, like Boston College or Catholic University,” he notes, “but were discouraged by the high tuitions.” A soccer scholarship offer from Pitt decided his higher education plans. He graduated in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

Navarro and his wife, Joanne, have three children; two sons and a daughter. Annual family vacations are a week at Stone Harbor, New Jersey and one in Kingston, Ontario. Regarding the latter, Navarro muses, “It’s just a time to get way, to do some fishing and boating.”

Staff Writer

You must be logged in to post a comment Login