June 17, 2015
AKF Group Credit : AKFGroup
RaschilPaul Raschilla, Partner, AKF Group Credit: AKF Group
Editor’s Note: Paul Raschilla, AKF Partner, Commissioning and Testing, is closely following the Hermione, as it sails up the eastern seaboard to his company’s office cities of Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. The AKF Group LLC is a full-service consulting engineering firm serving public and private sector clients across the United States and around the world. Mr. Raschilla, a Navy Veteran headquartered in New York City, will welcome AKF guests at a sponsor reception on board the Hermione in Baltimore, on June 19, 2015. Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America recently caught up with Mr. Raschilla to ask him about his support of the “Hermione 2015 Voyage” in America.
Question: Given AKF’s advanced engineering prowess and project management expertise, and considering that the same talents were exhibited in the 18th century at Rochefort while Hermione was under construction, and in the current era when it was faithfully reconstructed, can you tell us the reasons why you and AKF became interested in the Hermione?
Answer: The Hermione Project is full of human interest, engineering, craftsmanship, and adventure. Recreating such a magnificent and superior frigate with painstaking attention to detail is a feat worthy of the original work of art. It must be with great pride that the French reconstruction team brings the Hermione to the United States, the same sense of pride that we take in delivering our contemporary engineering services to exacting clients.
Q: With AKF’s strong Corporate Social Responsibility commitment to outreach, how do you relate a project in “public history” to your firm’s social mission?
A: The Hermione provides us a living connection to our country’s history, our first alliances and the importance of creating long-term partnerships today for the overall benefit of our communities. AKF is a firm believer in helping the communities where we live and work. Through personal volunteerism, charitable outreach and corporate sponsorship, members of the firm are actively involved in various organizations that benefit at-risk youth, the sick, and the homeless.
Q: Hermione is also very much a floating laboratory, and its organizers on both sides of the Atlantic have clear multi-faceted education programs and goals, including STEM, which stands for as you know, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY ENGINEERING and MATHEMATICS, ‘STEM’ for short. Tell us about AKF’s similar commitments in this critical area.
A: AKF has several education programs including our in-house AKF Institute that promotes ongoing education for all our members and clients in various levels of STEM core curriculum topics. We also participate in a very active intern program for college students to experience engineering and many of our graduates return as full time employees after graduation. We volunteer in mentoring programs for K-12 students that have interests in STEM to encourage and promote related activities.
Q: Hermione and AKF seem to share this amazing conjuncture where art/science/technology/project management all meet. Where do you see the parallels?
A: Both in the original construction and in the reconstruction, there is a kind of vision married to meticulous execution that embodies the creative nature of science and engineering. Like the Rochefort team, AKF has developed an integrated approach to the engineering design of building systems through collaboration. We see in the Hermione’s team of engineers and artisans a similar dedication to implement complex, detailed construction plans in a timely manner. And like Hermione’s builders in the 18th century, who constructed a “green” sailing ship powered by wind that was the fastest frigate of its era, AKF is at the forefront of today’s “Net Zero” energy efficiency and sustainable design. I’d like to think that our own vision for clients is to create what is possible — in the spirit, if you will, of Lafayette’s family motto: Why Not (Cur Non).
AKF admires Hermione’s place in history and the teams, though centuries apart, which made this extraordinary ship happen, not once but twice!
For information and support, visit: www.hermione2015.com