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2010 Young Engineer of the Year: Michael Witkowski, PE

2009 12 28 Mike Witkowski-croppedIf you can’t find Michael Witkowski in his office at McHugh Engineering Associates performing calculations or interfacing with code officials, you might look for him at an alumni board meeting at his alma mater –Drexel University. If you can’t find him there, you might look for him in the front of a classroom teaching Environmental Engineering at Villanova University. If you still have no success in tracking him down, maybe you’ll catch him at Widener, Villanova, Drexel or Temple Universities where he will be encouraging engineering students to take an active role in the engineering community. And, if you still come up empty handed, the last place you may want to check is one of his family gatherings. He’ll be the one sitting with his 14 nieces and nephews (all under the age of 11) where he would, admittedly, be shamelessly promoting the field of engineering. It is this so-called shameless promotion of the engineering profession that has led Michael Witkowski, P.E., LEED, AP to be named the 2010 Young Engineer of the Year by the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia. Established by William Shilling in 1990, the Young Engineer of the Year Award honors a practicing engineer under the age of 35 who demonstrates leadership abilities, contributes to the profession of engineering and participates in charitable, civic and technical initiatives. Witkowski has been named this year’s winner because of his outstanding professional credits, and his seemingly unending dedication to promoting the field of engineering to youth in the Philadelphia region, to regional college students, to fellow engineers and to the general public at large. A Project Manager and Associate for McHugh Engineering Associates, Inc., a full service consultant engineering firm specializing in Mechanical, Plumbing, Electrical and Fire Protection design, located in Ft. Washington, PA, Witkowski is a well respected senior designer of mechanical systems. Since joining McHugh in 1999 (after graduating from Drexel University), Witkowski has advanced his career and his education. In 2004 he passed the Professional Engineer (PE) exam, and in 2007 he received his Masters Degree in Civil Engineering from Drexel University. In 2008 Witkowski passed the Leadership in Energy Efficient Design making him an Accredited Professional in LEED. His education and leadership skills did not go unnoticed by the management at McHugh, and as a result of his drive and initiative he is now in the fourth year of a seven year employment agreement that will make him part owner of the company. During Witkowski’s tenure with McHugh he has served as the project engineer and client liaison for several projects which have positively impacted the region, including: the Police Athletic League Lenfest Center, a North Philadelphia $6.5 million project; a $4 million job placement and training facility in South Philadelphia for Philadelphia Job Core; and the Ambler YMCA’s $10 million new athletic facility and pool in Ambler, PA. Witkowski also manages the firm’s website www.McHughEng.com In addition to his significant contributions in the workplace, Witkowski was awarded the Young Engineer of the Year distinction because of his commitment and dedication to the engineering profession, as well as for his support of students who are committed to, and to those who are interested in, learning more about the engineering profession. In addition to being an active member of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Witkowski also serves as an Adjunct Instructor of Environmental Engineering at Villanova University. Just as impressive as his professional accomplishments is Witkowski’s dedication to his alma mater, Drexel University, and the support he provides to collegiate engineering students throughout the region. Witkowski has served on the Drexel University’s College of Engineering Alumni Association since 2001 and two years ago was elected as a voting member of the Drexel University’s Alumni Board of Governors. As such, he serves on the Student Relations Committee and is part of the Global Outreach Group. He also has been on the Board of Governors of ASHRAE, Philadelphia Section, for the past four years and has served as the Student Activities Chair for this society for the past five years. In this role he is responsible for coordinating with the local universities undergraduate ASHRAE student branches to promote engineering to pre-college students. He regularly makes presentations to Widener, Villanova, Drexel and Temple Universities to encourage students to take an active role in their engineering community. Looking forward to a year of service as the Young Engineer of the Year, Witkowski has his sights set on a few goals. One includes getting his fellow engineers involved in the effort to help more young people understand what engineers do so that they can more fully consider the profession as a viable career option. This goal goes hand in hand with his overriding interest in reaching out to the community, as a whole, to promote engineering — in particular to young students. “Most children, whether they know it or not, will have a direction they want to go by the time they reach 6th grade,” reports Witkowski. “This does not mean they have lined up their careers, but it means they will, or will not have a pull towards science and mathematics. My belief is that if people understood what an engineer does, more people would be inclined to pursue this field. Let’s face it, every child loves to play with blocks. As an adult I get to do it on a larger scale.” Witkowski plans on getting his message out by attending career fairs, by visiting colleges and by connecting with more grade schools. He also plans on encouraging his fellow engineers to do the same.