Senior Plumbing Designer Joe Bertino, a Haskell team member since 1999, received his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama in July 2021.

September 7, 2021

Senior Plumbing Designer Earns Mid-Career Degree to Benefit Clients

With his mechanical engineering degree, Joe Bertino can pursue a fire protection license, which will help reduce costs and timelines on Haskell’s projects.


College graduations are significant milestones, particularly for professionals who earn degrees that augment their careers while they remain fully immersed in their careers.

Allow us to introduce Joe Bertino.

Bertino is a Senior Plumbing Designer in Haskell’s Infrastructure & Transportation Group. He is also the President of the North Florida Chapter of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers. And as of July 2021, he is a University of Alabama graduate, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering after eight years of study.

“I’m certainly proud. I pushed myself and graduated magna cum laude,” he said. “I’m certainly proud of it. It was difficult, managing that and my Haskell workload. To get my time back was just, I couldn't really express that feeling, it was just … relief.”

In academia, Bertino would have been classified as a nontraditional student. But among plumbing designers, he followed the typical path, which doesn’t necessarily – or even regularly – include a college degree.

When he graduated from high school, he went to school to learn what then was the new technology of computer-aided drafting (CAD). He took a job with an engineering firm that was adapting CAD with the intention of teaching its CAD operators to design. Plumbing designer and fire protection were the curricula for Bertino’s design education. He earned distinction as a Certified Plumbing Designer from the American Society of Plumbing Engineers in 1993 and moved from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, to join Haskell in 1999.

“In my field, plumbing designers typically don’t hold engineering degrees,” Bertino said. “However, I realized that if I wanted to advance my career and have more opportunities in engineering, a degree would be necessary.”

He was particularly motivated by the chance to fill a need for Haskell, where he has worked since 1999.

“One of the reasons I wanted to achieve an engineering degree was so I could earn a professional license in fire protection,” Bertino said. “Haskell has a few engineers with fire-protection licenses, but none of them is located at Haskell’s headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida. Haskell usually relies on outside consultants to ensure its projects meet fire protection standards, but this outsourcing can slow down a project. With an engineering degree, I can now pursue a fire protection license, which would help reduce costs and timelines for Haskell’s projects.”

It’s easy to imagine that someone with such dedication and determination would be well-thought-of around the workplace, and Lead Mechanical Engineer Tom Emerson, Bertino’s supervisor, was quick with praise.”

“Bertino is well respected within The Haskell Company,” Emerson said. “His experience and knowledge of plumbing design makes him a highly sought-after resource by design managers, architects, and engineers.”

The appreciation is mutual. Bertino took advantage of Haskell’s tuition-reimbursement program to help fund his degree, and he said the support went deeper than just the dollars.

“Haskell was critical force in helping me achieve my degree,” he said. “The company’s tuition reimbursement program made the cost of an engineering degree very manageable, and my supervisors were incredibly flexible, giving me time off for schoolwork and exams. I tell everyone, this is a great place to work.”

Tuition reimbursement is just one of many benefits of being part of the Haskell team. Click here to learn more.

Haskell delivers $2± 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 2,200 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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