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ImageSPEC Consulting specializes mainly in structural engineering.  But Gary Bush, a licensed engineer, also does architectural engineering related to residences and commercial building.  That includes structural, mechanical, electrical, and HVAC design.  He is also certified as a LEAD Accredited Professional through the U.S. Green Building Council.

"What sets me apart from other engineers in this area especially is that I grew up building houses," Bush says.  "All through high school and all through college I worked through a local contractor.  When I design things I know they can be built."

Bush works directly for clients or subcontracting for other building professionals.  He works for architects and other engineers on structural design or drafting, for contractors who may need an element like designed and certified that it will hold up the structure during new construction or renovations.  He also works for realtors to determine whether issues found by home inspectors need work or are structurally sound.  He notes New York State doesn't differentiate between an architect and an engineer for drawing purposes, so he is able to work on homes on his own as well as with architects.  He especially likes working directly for homeowners. 

"I get to start the process from scratch," he says.  "Typically they'll have found a set of plans on the Internet that they like -- almost.  'We want to move this bedroom over here,' or 'We want to add a garage...'  I take an existing set of plans and change them.'

Bush grew up in Lansing, graduating from Lansing High School.  He says he didn't plan to become an engineer when he was in high school.

"I give a lot of credit to a couple of key teachers for guiding me in the right direction," he says.  "Even as a junior and senior at Lansing High School I didn't have a clue what an engineer was or what they did.  Mr. Suarez, the shop and drafting teacher, and Mr. Stevens, the chemistry and physics teacher."

He earned his BS and Masters degrees in mechanical engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with a one year detour at SUNY Binghamton.  During that time he worked as a mechanical engineer in a co-op job at Pall Trinity in Cortland, and was hired there when he finished college.  There he worked on new product design for four years.

SPEC Consulting was started in 1997 as a computer consulting firm.  His biggest project was biggest data base design project was for a Union Springs company, Dyno Port, a marketer of  exhaust systems for dirt bikes and snowmobiles.  He was able to reduce the order taking process from about 45 minutes to just a couple of minutes by merging separate data bases to provide instant cost comparisons.

During that time he was hired to build a Web site for Groton Memorials.  The company was not only making grave stone monuments, but also sold personalized pottery products such as pet memorials, slate signs, and so on through catalog companies like L.L. Bean and Eddie Bauer, Sporty's Pilot Shop, and others. 

Bush ended up buying the business and renamed it 'Stonography'.  He characterizes the experience as a learning adventure, after which he worked on HVAC designs for Thomas Associates (now Tetra Tech).  Next he worked on structural design for Barden homes for a year.

He began thinking about getting a professional engineering license so he could stamp his own plans and certify plans for other engineers.  Meanwhile he took a job as Director of Engineering at Monarch Machine Tools.  After seven months they decided to outsource their engineering needs, so Bush went back to consulting.  He was hired by architect Richard Hautaniemi to work on the Colonial Veterinary Hospital.  He had major responsibility for the project.

Gary Bush

Bush worked on a lot of the interior architecture, plumbing, and HVAC.  That project presented special challenges, because the business wanted to stay open during the construction.  The front was completed before knocking down the existing building.  Once the clients had moved into the front part, the old building was demolished and the back of the new hospital was built.  Today he says that was his favorite of the projects he has worked on because of the autonomy he was given.

Just over a year ago he earned his professional engineering licence.

"Now I'm doing exactly what I was doing before, but I can stamp the plans myself," he says.  "That's been huge because now other places are calling me to put my stamp on their plans rather than the other way around."

Bush says that almost all of his business comes from word of mouth.  He enjoys networking and says that has also played a large part in attracting clients.  He enjoys working out of his Groton home, being there to see his kids growing up.  He often works in his living room, but can go anywhere when he needs solitude to work on a project.

"If I have my laptop, that's all I need," he says.  "I can be sitting in the woods and designing houses."

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