Smita Shah

Founder and CEO @ SPAAN Tech, Inc.

Smita N. Shah is Founder and CEO of SPAAN Tech, Inc., an engineering and construction management firm established in 1998, 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.

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.
In recognition of her work in both building bridges between India and the United States as well as the Indian community and the community at large, she received the Congressionally recognized Ellis Island Medal of Honor honoring those “who changed the fabric of America.” Ms. Shah serves as the Chairman of the Delhi-Chicago Sister Cities Committee, and led a trade mission to India with Mayor Richard M. Daley to promote economic, cultural and social exchanges between the cities. In this capacity, she also chaired several events connecting Indian officials and culture to the city, including an event introducing the Ambassador from India to members of the Chicago business community.

Recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2016 as one of the city’s 100 most-connected Chicagoans (19th). Ms. Shah dedicates herself to the community and serves in several civic boards and commissions. Some of her 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.