Harold Engstrom grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and attended public schools there. At the age of 17, he went to work at the Arkansas Foundry Company (AFCO), where he began his work as an engineer. In 1939, he received a degree in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas. After earning his degree, Engstrom returned to AFCO to work and in 1965 he was named vice president of the company. In 1971 he was inducted into the College of Engineering Hall of Fame. He remained the vice president at AFCO until he left the company in 1978.
Harold Engstrom was not only a talented engineer; he was also an important leader in the Little Rock area at the time of the Civil Rights Movement. Besides serving as chairman of the Little Rock City Building Code Appeals board and as the national director of the Society of Professional Engineers in Arkansas, Mr. Engstrom was also the president of the Little Rock School Board in 1957 when Central High School was being desegregated. National and local leaders battled on the issue of desegregation at Central High, but in the end, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in 1,200 federal troops to force integration upon the people at Central High and upon the Governor Orval Faubus. Engstrom was there on the School Board when all of this happened, and when it was over he thanked President Eisenhower for his help.
Information for this biography was gathered from the following sources: