THG Leadership Spotlight: Getting to Know Matt Hefelfinger

When did you join The Harman Group?

I joined the firm in January of 2012.

Do you have a favorite project that you have worked on with The Harman Group?

So far, my favorite project I have worked on is 2400 Market Street, the new Aramark headquarters. It is a renovation and overbuild project located across from University City and the 30th Street Station. The project consists of a five-story overbuild onto the existing structure to create a block-wide, 11-story mixed-use development. The existing building is concrete slab with concrete columns. The overbuild is structural steel – slab on metal deck with steel columns and beams – with concrete shear walls going down through the existing building and up to the new roof.

What do you enjoy most about working at The Harman Group?

I really enjoy the variety of projects we get to work on at The Harman Group. I also really appreciate learning from and collaborating with everyone in the office.

Is there a dream project that you would like to work on?

I would love to work on something taller than 1,000 feet, or a tall project that spans over some obstruction at the base, such as railroad tracks or another existing building.

What is your favorite/most challenging part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is finding solutions for clients that are practical, economical, and satisfy both the architect and the contractor, all while meeting the requirements of the building code.

What industry trend is most exciting to you right now?

The use and integration of higher-strength materials, such as structural steel and reinforcing steel, is one of the trends that I am most interested in right now.

Can you share a story about what you feel is one of your biggest professional career accomplishments?

Our client at 2400 Market Street needed to remove an existing building column in the middle of their event space that was supporting the existing floors and the new overbuild floors. It was too late to change the framing of the overbuild floors, so we needed to find a way to remove the column and re-support both the existing building and the overbuild. After brainstorming several options that would work within the depth restrictions, we designed a pair of structural steel trusses to re-support the existing structure after removal of the existing column. The trusses span over 50 feet and are less than 7 feet deep.  They were erected on each side of the existing column, the existing floors were shored, the existing column was removed, and the load was transferred onto the steel trusses.

2400 Market

Want to learn more about this? Read our post “Transferring the Load: Historic Columns Removed from Renovation Projects.”

Outside of your work, are you involved in any other organizations or nonprofits?

I am involved in Pittsburgh Sports League.

What is your favorite out of work activity?

I am a big Penn State Football fan. I have season tickets and have been attending their home games since I was four years old. Outside of football season, I really enjoy hiking.

What don’t most people know about you?

I drove to North Carolina, hiked into the Great Smoky Mountains, camped in a tent, and hiked 5 miles with a 2,500-foot elevation gain to a spot for a spectacular view of the Total Solar Eclipse in 2017.

Matt Hefelfinger
Matt and his brother viewing the solar eclipse.