From Hockey to Harfan: Joe Juneau ’91After 12 seasons in the National Hockey League, former
Rensselaer ice hockey standout (and aeronautical engineering
major) Joe Juneau ’91 has started a new career as a partner and
account executive with Harfan Technologies, an engineering
technology company based in Juneau’s hometown of Pont-Rouge,
Que., and in Frederick, Md., that develops infrastructure asset
management solutions for the private and public sector. Juneau
visited campus in October to discuss Harfan.
Q: Why did you decide to go into engineering after 12
seasons in the NHL?
A: All my life I’ve played hockey, but I’ve
always been interested in many things. With my degree from RPI,
I always wanted to go back to the tech world and do something
Q: What do you do in your job with Harfan
A: My job is to make sure people know about
Harfan and our sophisticated asset management solutions. I’ve
been a partner with Harfan since 2002. I am helping to develop
collaborative opportunities for the company outside of Quebec.
Because of the degree that I earned at RPI, and because most of
my career as a professional hockey player was in the United
States, I’m known as the “engineer hockey player.” That makes
it easier for me to reach people at the top, the thought
leaders and decision makers, which is a significant challenge
when you’re a small company.
Q: Are you still flying your own
A: Yeah, and the plane I own now was
actually my dream plane, the deHavilland Beaver, which is, up
to today, the best bush plane that was ever built. It seats
eight people and it gives me the chance to jump in with family
and friends and bring them to my fishing cabin — an old log
cabin that was built in the ’40s. You know, you go there, you
don’t see anybody else. I’m alone on the lake with no
Q: What is your best hockey memory?
A: I think the top would be the (1992)
Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. We were all amateurs
[on the Canadian men’s ice hockey team] and we managed to get a
silver medal, and I was the high scorer in the tournament. It
was great. I went to the Stanley Cup finals twice, and as much
fun as it was, I didn’t think it was like the Olympics
Q: You didn’t speak English when you came to
Rensselaer. What was your first day like?
A: It was probably the day in my life that
I was the most nervous. It was hard to go into a store and ask
for a pack of gum. I was very shy and was nervous about making
mistakes. Instead of speaking up in class, I would go over a
question in French in my head and work on translating it into
English, and I wouldn’t say it until I was comfortable. By the
time I was ready to ask a question, it was three or four topics
Q: How did you balance your academic program in
aeronautical engineering and hockey at Rensselaer?
A: It was just a matter of being organized.
Every day that I left my apartment, I had a list of every
single thing that I needed to do that day. I don’t think I ever
failed a test in my life before I came here. And the first two
tests that I took at RPI, I failed them, and pretty bad too. On
one of them I think I got 22 percent, the other one 30 percent,
if not less than that. When I got the results I went right away
to the coach’s office. I told Mike Addessa the situation, and I
showed him all the homework that I did. The next week I had
tutors in place for every single class I needed help with. What
I gained the most from being around tutors was the fact that I
had somebody one-on-one to discuss things with in English.
Q: What was it like to play with Adam Oates ’85 in
A: My first year [with the Boston Bruins],
especially, it was unbelievable. He really took me under his
wing and made my transition so much easier. I was playing on
his line and, at that point, he was leading the league, so for
me to start out in [professional] hockey and to play with one
of the best playmakers was amazing.
Harfan Technologies Web site
Photo by Mark McCarty
Originally published in
Rensselaer Magazine, Winter 2004