Noah and Ray Haversat, son and father, are each pursuing master’s degrees in project management at Northeastern’s Roux Institute in Portland, Maine.
Both are investing in the same outcome—a better way of living—despite the generational differences.
Noah Haversat, 25, has been working long hours as a field engineer overseeing a $50 million retirement complex near Portland.
“I’m trying to find that work-life balance in the construction industry, which is definitely a difficult thing to do,” says Noah, whose aunt, Charly Matheson—Ray’s sister—is a project manager at the Roux Institute. Noah is hoping that a shift to project management may liberate him.
Ray Haversat, 58, has recognized the need for balance much later in his life. For the past eight years he has been a tissue recovery specialist at New England Donor Services, a nonprofit that coordinates organ and tissue donation in six states and Bermuda. The work is highly stressful.
For Noah and Ray, the Roux Institute project management graduate degree program will open the door for that better work-life balance.
Noah is two semesters ahead in their studies, which is telling. He was the first to understand the need for a better work-life balance—and the first to enroll at the Roux Institute in order to pursue his preferred lifestyle.
Noah is aiming to launch a new long-term career, whereas Ray is seeking work that can bridge him to retirement. The versatile project management degree is serving both goals.
“We made a pact that we don’t talk about grades,” Ray says. “And if we’re in the same class, we can help each other but we’ll try not to be in the same group.”
There haven’t been many opportunities for bonding on campus—Ray began his studies last summer while Noah was taking the semester off—but they look forward to collaborating. Lately, Noah has been helping Ray with course software.
The academic relationship with his son has been good for Ray.
Depending on when the phone rings, he may rush to a 12-hour recovery that exhausts him physically and emotionally, especially when going a day or longer without sleep. Alone in a hospital room, he removes organs to be used for transplants.
“I was in corporate America for a really long time and I was getting burned out pretty heavily,” Ray says. “So I applied to become an EMT. … I applied for the driver’s position they had, and they called me up and said, ‘Hey, would you like to try this?’”
The work Ray has done has improved or saved thousands of lives for the recipients. But there are costs that he absorbs. He is on call for 72 hours at a time. He focuses as best he can on his efforts to transform loss into promise, despair into hope.
“It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had, but it is also the most emotionally trying job I’ve ever had,” Ray says. “And so I am trying to make a change because I can’t continue to have conversations with people I’ve never met and break down crying in front of them.”
He believes his studies will help him create a new career.
“I’m looking at something that I can take into retirement,” Ray says. “And the work that I do going forward, I want to be on my own terms.”