Alan Wilson was joined at the American Values Dinner by family and friends. Pictured, from left, are Haskell colleagues the Chris Allen, Melanie Kleehammer, Charlotte Haines, Alan Wilson, Joan Haskell, Preston Haskell, Angela Schifanella (Alan’s wife), Julie Flagg and Chris Flagg.

August 17, 2022

In Receiving Honor, Alan Wilson Reflects on a Rich Scouting Life

An Eagle Scout as a youth and a longtime Scoutmaster who has helped more than 100 young men to attain that rank, Wilson is dedicated to mentoring.

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In 1976, a young Boy Scout began a 50-mile journey down the Delaware River. One night, as a light rain pattered on his tent, the scout struggled to sleep, filled with thoughts of the day behind him and excitement about those ahead.

Decades later, Alan Wilson still treasures the lessons and experiences Scouting offered, and he has dedicated his life to creating the same opportunity for boys and young men.

Wilson, Haskell Vice President and Chief Architect, has had a 30-plus year career and designed several of Jacksonville’s most notable landmarks, including the Jacksonville Beach Seawalk Pavilion and the San Marco square lion fountain. His service outside of the workplace has just as big of a mark.

Wilson earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 1978 at 17 years old in Neptune, New Jersey. His love for the Scouts came directly from his father, Bill Wilson, who was also an Eagle and received the Silver Beaver Award, a council-level distinguished service honor. When Alan’s sons, Ben and Henry, were growing up, he participated with them in YMCA Indian Guides and coached them with the Westside Soccer Club for seven years.

“It’s seeing the kids succeed. It’s the mentoring part. I just have a natural interest,” Wilson said. “That's why I coached; I did Indian Guides; I've done Joe Berg Seminars. I’ve taught young people in different capacities. I didn't go into teaching, but I have that bent, and I enjoy doing it. It's such a worthy cause. I can't think of a better way to spend my time. I don't golf or boat or things like that. I do Scouts.”

In 2005, as his sons became more involved in Scouting, Wilson became Scoutmaster of Troop Two, chartered to St. John’s Presbyterian Church. Today, long after his sons have moved on from their Scouting careers, he continues his involvement because he genuinely believes in the mission of Boy Scouts of America, to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

Wilson has helped more than 100 scouts become Eagles, including Ben and Henry, and has advised treks to Northern Tier and Philmont high adventure bases. In 2020, Wilson helped lead a group of 38 scouts and 23 adults to Glacier National Park and Camp Grizzly in Montana – safely and successfully even at the height of the pandemic. Wilson also helped pioneer the vision for the long-term use and master planning of both Camp Shands and St. Johns Riverbase at Echockotee in 2008 as a member of the North Florida Council properties committee. Like his father, he is a Silver Beaver recipient.

This year, Wilson was recognized as one of two honorees at the American Values Dinner, the Northeast Florida Council’s primary fundraising event. As a fresh-faced Scout in the mid-1970s, Wilson couldn’t have imagined the organization’s impact on his life.

“When you see me here tonight, I’d like you to think of me not only as the person you see before you, but as the scout, raised with the ethics of scouting, now working to fulfill them all these years later – in a sense, honoring the work of my scout leaders years ago,” he said in his acceptance speech. “I am thankful for my workplace and our founder, Preston Haskell, who I’m so pleased is here tonight with his wife Joan and some Haskell colleagues, for having such a strong culture of community service, and support of my own community engagement through Scouting. Thank you!”

Wilson’s dedication to service is not only a representation of Haskell’s values but a showing of his true character and penchant for leadership. His former scouts have gone on to be pilots, foresters and fraternity presidents, and have given back themselves, to institutions such as Wolfson’s Children Hospital and programs like Angels for Allison. His association with them, he said, has enriched his life.

“Every Scout has a story,” he said in his address. “It’s been the honor of my life to work with so many committed leaders to assist these young people in their Scouting journey and beyond. Someday, you never know, one of them may end up right here, 45 years later, speaking to you about scouting’s positive impact and their scouting journey.”

5 Questions with Alan Wilson

What drew you to your career?

As a child, I enjoyed drawing very much.  I also liked building things, such as model planes and cars. As I got older, a couple of friends and I would covertly borrow my father’s extensive collection of carpentry tools to build numerous ground and tree forts from scrap lumber of houses being built in the neighborhood. Architecture seemed like a great career to allow me to combine an interest in art with the tangible results of building.

Where is your favorite travel destination, and why?

As much as I enjoy traveling to see and study great architecture, my favorite travel destinations are America’s National Parks. As beautiful and majestic as some buildings may be, it’s hard to compete with the majesty of Yosemite, the Grand Canyon or Denali National Park. Nature is a place to refresh, but also great inspiration for architectural design as well.

Complete this sentence: I couldn’t make it through the week without …

Doing something creative.

Who is your role model and how have they influenced you?

I have several role models in my life, but my primary one is my father. Dad spent a lifetime supporting many civic and nonprofit organizations in meaningful ways, including spending the last 16 years of his life volunteering the entire summer in Boy Scout camp. The scouting influence, in particular, had a direct impact on my own volunteering with the Boy Scouts over the last two decades.

What does being a Haskell team member mean to you?

I’ve always appreciated being part of a company where everyone has a positive, can-do attitude and mindset of strong community support. It’s exciting to be part of a company that continues to grow and progress and that is so well-respected in the community.

Haskell is hiring! Explore the many options available to join a growing company that encourages and enables its team members to give back to their communities.

Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,000 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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