Saturday, September 23, 2023

Drew Harvey

Pampa High School Class of 1964



The Basics

Drew was born in Pampa Texas and raised on a wheat farm, 16 miles east of town. The bus driver began driving the same year Drew began first grade at Woodrow Wilson Elementary, so they spent a lot of time together on Bus #14 over the next 12 years! Harry Nelson, Drew’s grandfather, broke out the land in 1910 and 4 generations later, a nephew continues to farm the property. Drew is the youngest of Lloyd & Virginia Harvey’s 4 children, and his youth was filled with hours of tractor driving, wheat harvesting, and working cattle. The wonderful family, friendships, inspiring teachers, the excellent environment of Pampa High School, and the “Panhandle Work Ethic” laid a strong foundation for engineering studies at Texas Tech University. Drew graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and went to work for the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) down on the Gulf Coast of Texas. But, after only 5 months he was drafted into the army and spent the next 2 years, not in Vietnam, but at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. He returned to Alcoa for a 36-year career living in Texas, Tennessee, Brazil, and finally to Pittsburgh, Pa in 1982. As a registered Professional Engineer, most of his early work was in the smelting and casting businesses working on operations support and plant expansions. After moving to Pittsburgh, he was part of a team starting a new business unit, Alcoa Automotive Structures, that hoped to convince the auto industry that car bodies should be aluminum, not steel. As the Engineering Director, Drew travelled extensively to Europe and Japan and eventually led construction of a plant in Germany that supplied aluminum “space frame” bodies to Audi for the A8, the world’s first production volume aluminum car. Additional manufacturing plants followed in Hungary, Italy, England, Spain, Norway, and the USA, but the conversion pace to aluminum remains promising, but slow. As the “Director of Alcoa Business Systems”, Drew led implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies throughout the business unit before retiring in 2004 at the age of 58.


His wife Paula retired the same year after many years of teaching at the elementary & pre-school levels. They have a son, Tyson, who works in medical sales and lives in New York City, and a daughter Allyson, a Veterinarian Technician living in Pittsburgh. Tyson has a 2-year old son, Spencer Lloyd. An avid bicyclist, Drew enjoys multi-day, long distance bike tours thru various states. He also remains very connected with the Texas Panhandle and tries to return whenever possible to help on the family farm.


Interest in Africa

Drew got involved in many things immediately after retirement, one of which was a Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip together with his daughter to the village of Mpongi Puti-Puti in Uganda, Africa. As a Habitat GV team leader, he lived & built houses with the people, worked with the family receiving the house, and came back with a lot of questions around social justice, work ethic, African development, and values. More Habitat trips followed to Zambia, Ethiopia, and New Zealand.

A second African initiative began with a trip sponsored by Drew’s local church. In 2005, Drew led a team of 18 to the Nyadire United Methodist Mission Complex in Zimbabwe. Nyadire includes a large hospital, orphanage, 1200 student school system, teaching college, school of nursing, and a farm. With the ongoing collapse of Zimbabwe, it was clear this facility would not survive without outside support. Upon returning, the team created “The Nyadire Connection” (TNC) dedicated to enabling Nyadire to continue serving the people of Northeastern Zimbabwe. The guideline of “connecting people to people” has led to 13 ongoing programs which sponsor orphans, keeps a doctor & medicines in the hospital, operates a micro-loan program, etc. TNC ( ) strives for a true partnership, acknowledging that all involved benefit equally. Drew has been chairman of TNC since it’s beginning. and continues to take teams to Nyadire each year. A May 2013 trip initiated a program to rebuild 6 rural health clinics that desperately need upgrades to provide the most basic of care. Initial funds were raised ($300,000+ needed for each clinic) and the first clinic, Chikwizo, was completed in August, 2014. Drew will return to Africa for the 11th time in Oct, 2014. He is now working to rejuvenate the large Nyadire farm and hopes to use annual profits to rebuild the remaining 5 health clinics. If successful, a revitalized farm could enable a self-sustaining facility no longer dependent on donor support - the “golden objective” of any humanitarian effort!


Drew loves a good adventure, and as part of a Jan, 2012 trip, he & a group of friends ascended Africa’s tallest mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Kilimanjaro is located in the Serengeti, home to many of Africa’s most dramatic landscapes and animals. After working with Brother’s Brother Foundation (BBF) to send containers of scavenged medical items to Zimbabwe, Drew joined the BBF board of directors in 2009. As Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee, he worked closely with BBF’s staff to greatly increase ocean container shipments to Africa. In addition to continued shipments throughout the world, BBF’s new “Africa Initiative” is now supporting over 100 African hospitals with the supply of medical consumables, limited drugs, medical hardware, and refurbished medical equipment. BBF has consistently been one of America’s top charities as ranked by Forbes magazine and Charity Navigator.


Drew continues to be fascinated with Africa - the cultures, the history, the music, the religious mix, the high value of relationships, & the belief that tomorrow will be better. And yet, the poverty, the disease, the injustice, the wars, the hunger, and harsh realities of life call out for change.


Other Stuff

In addition to Africa, Drew also works in numerous local and national programs. He has been on many humanitarian trips to areas of disaster relief in places like New Orleans, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. As part of the national program “Everybody Wins”, Drew reads weekly to individual children who attend one of Pittsburgh’s inner city primary schools. Drew occasionally teaches classes summarizing the history and current situation of Native Americans, and worked with a team to build a Native American church in Illinois. Drew’s Christian faith has guided his life. He routinely has leadership roles at his local church, which is now working to increase the role of the global church in effectively responding to the inequities and problems of our world. In August 2013, Drew was one of the Pittsburgh recipients of a “Jefferson Award” which honors volunteers performing significant community and public service in America.


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