Joseph Fama ’71
If you talk to Joe Fama, you will quickly find out two things: He is an engineer, and he proudly went to Bucknell.
As a child, Fama remembers drawing the inner workings of rockets when he was in third grade and tearing apart a lot of his toys (though he didn't always get them back together). Coming from an urban high school in Washington, D.C., to the much quieter environment of Lewisburg, Pa., was a major change of pace, but it allowed him to learn what he was interested in: how mechanical and electrical things work, and how to design and build them.
Bucknell was the right place for Fama because the professors — particularly Charles Coder, mechanical engineering — showed him the process of identifying a problem, looking for root causes and then determining a solution. He still uses the critical thinking tools that were learned at Bucknell in his work today, although many tools have turned from analog to digital.
He speaks highly of his classmates, recounting how regardless of their field of study, they shared his love of knowledge and were simply good people. The fact that Bucknell's community of students, faculty, staff and alumni were so engaged in their mission of educating students pointed Fama on his path of volunteerism with the University.
Upon returning to D.C. after earning a graduate degree at Bucknell, he started working in the mechanical construction industry, and at 30 he started his own construction management operation. Fama holds a Professional Engineer license and earned an M.S. in reliability engineering from the University of Maryland at 48. His projects have varied over time, but the capstone was the opportunity for his firm to design and manage systems in all the buildings on Capitol Hill 20 years ago.
In the years since he left Bucknell, Fama's work as an alumnus has included being a guest lecturer, a mentor, a member of the Bucknell Engineering Alumni Association (BEAA) board, president of the BEAA for four years, a member of the Bucknell University Alumni Association Board of Directors and a Reunion chair for five Reunions. He's also been active in giving committees and top prospect calling. The Reunions have been especially powerful experiences because while Fama's classmates have grown and changed, their underlying strengths have remained.
Even further, Fama has worked with his church and volunteered for 20 years as a high school lacrosse coach for both men's and women's teams. Fama and his wife, Maureen, were married at the end of his junior year at Bucknell and have two children and three grandchildren. They spend their time in Maryland and at the beach in Delaware.