On February 21, 2018, Steve Zayko was awarded 2017-2018 Engineer of the Year by the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE). An impressive feat for someone who had planned on becoming an astronaut.
“Until I reached High School, my dream was space travel,” said Zayko. “I loved the science and adventurous aspects of NASA, the shuttle and the space program. However, to be an astronaut, you needed to join the military and be a pilot. The need for eyeglasses ruled that out, so I had to change course.”
He followed a different path, pursuing math and science of the environment with gusto, earning a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Science in Geological Sciences from Wright State University. He is a registered as a professional engineer in nine states and also a certified professional geologist.
Currently, Zayko is Manager of Technical Services and Senior Engineer at PM Environmental, Inc. He specializes in innovative technologies, risk assessment, bioremediation, and corrective action/response activity design and implementation.
He enjoys the variety of the work he does at PM. “Every project is different and requires a unique solution,” he said. “Each day is like working on new, complex story problems and developing solutions is both challenging and fun.”
Zayko has been a member of the MSPE for five years and is currently a board member as the chapter secretary. Along with networking and continuing education activities, the MSPE performs community outreach designed to promote and expand the engineering profession. Zayko has been an active participant in the mentoring and educational outreach programs, such as MATHCOUNTS, a competition where sixth, seventh, and eighth graders make teams and compete in live, in-person contests against and alongside their peers on math skills.
“It’s great to see kids get excited about math,” said Zayko. “The MATHCOUNTS event makes an otherwise intimidating subject fun and facilitates learning in a gameshow-like setting.”
The end-of-the-year award ceremony took place at the MSPE Capital Area Chapter Annual Banquet. To be chosen Engineer of the year, one must demonstrate high standards and dedication to the profession. Zayko is described as a skilled, hardworking, energetic, engineer with outstanding professional abilities and a great willingness to volunteer his time. He is well respected among his peers.
According to Robert Peterson, Past President of the MSPE Capital Area Chapter, “Steve brings an enthusiastic energy and new ideas to the chapter.”