Young NJIT Grad Named a Top Professional in the New York Region

Vatsal Shah (second from left) winning an alumni award at NJIT. To his left is NJIT President Joel Bloom and to his right are Anita Rubino, of the NJIT Alumni Association, and Joe Stanley of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Engineering News Record (ENR) has named NJIT graduate Vatsal Shah to its "Top 20 Under 40" list of young professionals in the New York region. 

The weekly magazine, which covers the engineering, architecture and construction industries, cited Shah, an associate and senior project engineer at Mott MacDonald, for his entrepreneurship and community service. Professionally Shah helped develop an engineering support group at Mott; and civically he’s deeply involved in the engineering profession as well as at NJIT.

The editors noted that Shah, who graduated from the Albert Dorman Honors College in 2008 with a civil engineering degree, has an “expertise ranging from tunneling and bridge-related geotechnical and structural engineering to underground storage tank and site-remediation environmental design.”

ENR also noted that while doing research toward his doctoral degree at NJIT, which he earned in 2014, Shah discovered a better way to estimate gas produced from landfills. His research can help determine when it’s possible to reclaim landfills for other uses. 

It isn’t the first time that Shah, 28, has been recognized for professional and academic success. 

At age 23, he was one of the youngest persons in New Jersey to be licensed as a professional engineer. And The American Society of Civil Engineers named him the 2013 “New Face of Civil Engineering.”

In 2014 the NJIT Alumni Association gave him the GeNext Award for Alumni Achievement, an honor bestowed upon young alumni for significant professional accomplishments. He was the first NJIT graduate to receive the award.

He serves as vice president of the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers and is the current chair of the NJIT Young Alumni Club. He is also an adjunct professor in NJIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

“I truly enjoyed teaching Foundation Design as an adjunct last semester and look forward to doing it again soon,” Shah said. “Reading the student reviews made it all worthwhile.”

He started working at Mott at age 20, and three years later he helped develop the geotechnical support group. Geotechnics is the branch of civil engineering that deals with soil behaviour for engineering applications such as foundations and excavations.

Mott has several NJIT graduates on staff -- more than 100 -- and the company even has its own NJIT alumni corporate club. That club includes Nicholas DeNichilo, the president and CEO of Mott who has two civil engineering degrees -- a bachelor’s (1973) and a master’s (1978) -- from NJIT. And it was DeNichilo who told Shah the good news about his most recent accolade.

“Earlier this week, Nick was one of the first to mention to me that the Engineering News Record had selected me for its ‘Top 20 Under 40.’ I was pleasantly shocked. I was also very humbled to be named to the list. The article specifically mentioned my education at NJIT and rightfully so! The school was one of the core tools for my success. With three degrees from NJIT I’m a lifelong Highlander -- and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

By Robert Florida (