This award recognizes a young NSPE member who has made outstanding contributions to the Engineering Profession and the community during the early years of one's career.
Past Recipients: See a complete list of recipients.
NSPE 2019 Young Engineer of the Year
Vatsal Shah, P.E.
Vatsal, or “Dr. V" as known by his many students and colleagues, wears many (hard) hats as a Professional Engineer, avid volunteer, and Professor. In his primary role, Vatsal is currently Senior Associate and Senior Project Engineer in charge of managing and overseeing Mott MacDonald’s geotechnical group across the Northeast and Central US. In his spare time, he is an enthusiastic adjunct Professor at both NYU Tandon School of Engineering and New Jersey Institute of Technology teaching undergraduate and graduate geotechnical courses, and past-President of the NJ Society of Professional Engineers.
Vatsal comes from a line of engineers and architects, starting with his great-grandfather and father as role models. Since age 17 and through college, Vatsal spent his summers inspecting pile foundations as well as asphalt, concrete, and soil placement and testing. He graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the NJIT Albert Dorman Honors College in Newark, NJ. After graduating from NJIT, Vatsal joined Mott MacDonald full-time as a civil engineer in its Environmental Division and earned his MSCE and Ph.D part-time in the evenings at NJIT.
While at Mott MacDonald, Vatsal developed his interest in the field of geotechnical engineering. After completing his MSCE in Civil/Geotechnical Engineering, he became licensed and was one of New Jersey’s youngest Professional Engineers at the age of 23. That same year, he spearheaded the creation of a geotechnical group based out of Iselin, NJ to support Mott MacDonald’s multiple offices across the United States and clients in the tri-state area. His expertise and persistence has allowed the group to grow to its current size of 17 full-time engineers and technical staff whom he currently oversees.
Outside his professional career, Vatsal remains active in the engineering community with over 12 years of involvement as NJ State coordinator in the National Society of Professional Engineers’-sponsored MATHCOUNTS Program. He has been an active participant and donor for the Engineers Week (DiscoverE) program for the past five years, and is an active alumnus at NJIT as a Vice President of the Alumni Association. Vatsal currently returns the entirety of any proceeds from teaching at both universities to create annual endowed scholarships for both the civil engineering department and Honors College at his alma mater to help reduce the financial barrier for motivated students interested in pursuing civil engineering as a career. He continues to advocate promoting STEM to middle schoolers and high schoolers as a way to encourage our future generation to discover the value of engineering education and careers.