Harlan Ward has been with McKinstry’s Wisconsin team for five years—currently in the role of Senior Program Manager. Many folks across the region have crossed paths with Harlan since 2010, but few know that Harlan has a propensity for daring and unexpected adventures. Luckily for Harlan, he also seems to have nine lives.
After growing up in Belleville, Wisc., Harlan attended UW-Platteville and later UW-Madison, where he earned his degree in agricultural engineering. His love of the agrarian life led him to farm work, at least until the day he was adding corn to grain storage and his jacket suddenly became trapped in the auger. After managing a quick and fortunate escape without significant injury, Harlan opted to pursue a new career path as a construction design engineer.
Years later, while up late comforting his colicky son, Harlan stumbled upon a bull riding show while flipping through channels and they were both mesmerized. On a dare from his brother, Harlan joined a traveling rodeo school and ultimately ended up as a participant in bull riding competitions. Harlan last rode a bull in 2010. The bull soundly won.
These days, Harlan mostly opts to pursue safer and more cost-effective hobbies that keep him out of the hospital. In his free time, he serves as vice president of his local neighborhood association; coaches and manages soccer teams; and enjoys hunting, fishing, golfing, bike racing and, most importantly, spending time with his wife and three kids. His oldest son is a college football coach, his daughter recently graduated from college and works in marketing, and his youngest is enjoying fourth grade.
As a senior program manager at McKinstry, Harlan says: “My favorite thing about my job is that I help reduce the K-12 achievement gap by improving the student environment through fresher air, better lighting and improved technology.”