For Town Engineer, the Adventure Continues
NEWINGTON - Gary Fuerstenberg has been hired as Newington’s new Town Engineer, beginning a new leg of a journey that began in the Wisconsin native’s sandbox when he was just four years old.

       It was there that he constructed his first buildings-miniature cities, made out of Legos. Safe to say he knew he wanted to be a civil engineer?

       “I actually wanted to be an astronaut,” Fuerstenberg says with a laugh. “I loved building spaceships, so I’d take my building parts and make spaceships out of them.”

       It would progress, from the Legos, to bike ramps and miniature forts. Then, to old bikes and cars-courtesy of Fuerstenberg’s late father, Robert, an electrical contractor who, in another life, may have been an engineer.

       “He wasn’t an engineer by trade, but he had the mechanical aptitude beyond some engineers,” Fuerstenberg recalls fondly. “There are people like that-they can just make it go.”

       And as Fuerstenberg moved from one adventure to the next, he found and honed his own knack for making that happen.

       “Nothing changed, except for the size of the sandbox,” Fuerstenberg says.

       He’s been in sandboxes of varying sizes throughout the course of a 22 year career and a diverse portfolio of projects that includes utilities facilities, corporate buildings, levee infrastructure, and the World Trade Center reconstruction.

       The latter-among those he lists as the most memorable for him-involved conductiong foundation inspections at the bottom of the excavation while monitoring the movement of a subway line running through and adjacent to it.

       Fuerstenberg-a University of Wisconsin graduate whose trek to the east coast took place over a six month hike along the Appalachian Trail in 1999-says that his arrival in Newington was driven by a desire to settle in a medium sized town that’s “not too big, [but] not too small”. But like his childhood sandbox, the smaller footprint will come with a buzz of activity. With a $28 million Town Hall renovation project clear of its referendum hurdle, the town looks next to a slew of other infrastructure needs at Anna Reynolds Elementary School and the Library, among other buildings.

       “We have a lot of great infrastructure-it just needs to be maintained,” Fuerstenberg says. “This is what our forefathers entrusted in us-to maintain it and pass it on to future generations.”

       He says he jumped at the chance to roll up his sleeves and really get involved, noting that the town likes to do a lot of its engineering work in-house.

       “A lot of towns hire out,” he said. “I’m kind of a do it yourself kind of guy-I buy into that approach.”