Recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2016 as one of the city’s 100 most-connected Chicagoans (19th), Smita Shah is an engineer, entrepreneur and civic leader with a passion for nurturing entrepreneurism and innovation among women and minorities, while advocating for the growth and participation of small businesses in emerging industries. Ms. Shah’s commitment to public service extends across multiple spectrums, whether promoting the work and commitment of her ethnic community for our country, fostering a passion for children and education, facilitating the development good urban public policy, and supporting arts and culture.
President and CEO of SPAAN Tech, Inc., Ms. Shah founded the firm in 1998 and has pioneered its growth into a multi-disciplinary firm with expertise in public and private infrastructure projects including transportation, aviation, and facilities. She has been recognized by Crain's Chicago Business as one of Chicago's 40 under 40, an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, and received the U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a) Graduate of the Year Award. In 2011, she was selected National Community Leader of the Year by the American Consulting Engineers Council.
Some of Ms. Shah’s community and civic commitments include: member of the M.I.T. Corporation Development Council and Visiting Committee for Civil and Environmental Engineering; Vice Chairman of the Chicago Plan Commission, Chair of the President’s Council and member of Board of Trustees of the Museum of Science and Industry, board member of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, Trustee at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Vice Chairman of the Regents for Loyola University of Chicago, and board member of After School Matters. Ms. Shah is also member of the Young Presidents Organization, and the Economic Club of Chicago, serving on the Questions Committee.
Ms. Shah earned her Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University, where she is recognized as a “distinguished alumni” and completed her Master of Science in civil and environmental engineering from M.I.T., where she wrote her thesis on the state of the nation’s infrastructure. She also holds a Certificate in Management Studies from Oxford University where she completed her thesis on the Culture and Leadership of Public Private Partnerships. She is a graduate of University of Chicago’s Lab School.
• P.E. (Professional Engineer)
• LEED AP BD+C
• Program Management
• Construction Management