Capt. Harder is a native of Titusville, Florida and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended Georgia Tech graduating in June of 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He was commissioned through the Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, in August 1998. He earned a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2009 and completed Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Senior Executive Fellows program in 2021.