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Stephen C. Powers '87

Stephen C. Powers honored with an authentic NBA Jersey after consulting on the idea and concept for the Wizard's 2023 season.
Stephen C. Powers honored with an authentic NBA Jersey after consulting on the idea and concept for the Wizard's 2023 season. Photo courtesy of Sharon Pitts.

Stephen C. Powers

Class of ‘87
Senior Program Manager for the Washington Metropolitan Washington Area Transit Authority

I started my career with a heavy highway contractor, Shirley Contracting Corporation. I spent six years growing into a project manager role that oversaw the construction of roadway projects in Virginia and Maryland. Two larger projects I managed were building the cloverleaf and bridge interchange at Routes 50 and 28 in Chantilly, VA, and constructing Wootton Parkway in Rockville, MD. 

For the next 18 years, I was a resident airfield engineer and program manager at Washington National Airport for AECOM. In this construction engineering company, I oversaw multiple projects including the:

  • Build-out of the terminal apron and underground hydrant fueling system
  • Upgrade of the airfield lighting system, new taxiways, and runway improvements
  • Rehabilitation of the historic 1941 terminal
  • Design and construction of Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority’s corporate office building

Since 2012, I have worked with the Washington Metropolitan Washington Area Transit Authority (WMATA) as a senior program manager in the Capital Development Office. In this role, I’m responsible for infrastructure rehabilitation projects such as aerial structures, tunnels, non-revenue building facilities, parking garages, surface lots, and station entrance canopies.

Outside work, I enjoy scuba diving, traveling with my wife and family, attending sports events like the Washington Wizards, and letterboxing. However, the hobby I focus on the most is raising public awareness and leading preservation efforts promoting the 40 historic boundary stones of Washington, D.C. — the first monument purchased by the United States government, which marks the original 10-mile square boundary of the District of Columbia. Ironically, this led to an exciting partnership with the Washington Wizards.

How did your passion for boundary stones begin?
When my daughter, Vanessa, was in second grade, she had a school trivia project to complete about Arlington County. Knowing the boundary stones and the origins of Arlington, I suggested that she tell the class that Arlington was originally part of Washington, D.C. For the project, we visited several of the boundary stones in Arlington to take her photo with them. At this point, I got hooked. 

What started as a project to take photos of my two children at all 40 boundary stones turned into:

  • An engineering conditions study report of all the sites
  • Leading an American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) National Capital Section effort to rehabilitate 25 sites
  • Countless television appearances, as well as magazine and newspaper articles
  • The development of two websites
  • 18 years of conducting the annual Boundary Stones in a Day tours

How did your civil engineering education connect you with the boundary stones?
Through the projects I've worked on in my 35-year career, surveying has been a part of each. As my career in transportation took hold in the Washington, D.C. area, I developed an interest in maps, why D.C. has the shape it does, and how the various surrounding counties were defined through waterways, roadways, terrain, and land ownership. Being a resident of the smallest county in America — Arlington County — since 1989, its shape has been particularly interesting. This fascination led me to see why the county line was at a 90-degree angle by discovering the west cornerstone in Arlington/Falls Church.

Were there any specific projects that you worked on at Virginia Tech that set you up to be an expert on boundary stones?
As a student, I took a class on surveying where we learned to use a transit on "surveyor's hill" — the present location of Kelly Hall. This class and the projects we were tasked with started my lifelong appreciation for the importance of surveying, establishing benchmarks, and developing property lines and boundaries.


Can you explain how your background in civil engineering led to consulting on the Wizards City Edition Uniform for the 2023 season?
It was truly surreal. I've been a die-hard Washington Wizards fan since they were the Washington Bullets in 1976. As a season ticket holder, I was elated when the chief marketing officer for monumental sports, Hunter Lochmann, reached out for help pitching the 2023-2024 City Edition Uniform to Nike. I shared everything I knew about boundary stones to help sell the concept. 

Since producing the uniforms for use on the court took about two years, I had to sign a legal agreement to keep the information private. When Nike enthusiastically approved the idea for manufacturing, it was particularly satisfying to hear that they felt the boundary stones, given the history as well as the ties to Maryland and Virginia donating land to create the Federal City, embodied their City Edition theme greater than any other symbol. 

It’s deeply personal to me that the colors in the uniform were drawn from the colors of the protective fences that ASCE painted. The fact that Nike saw fit to replace the Washington Monument in the Wizards logo with a boundary stone brings national attention to the oldest monuments in D.C. and places a spotlight on these stones that they rightly deserve. 


B.S., Civil Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1987