Dorky is how Smita Shah self-describes. As a kid in elementary school, she covert algebraic word problems into equations. Instead of track relays, she’d run what she called “math relays” during her years in college. It’s this type of mind that has led to her being a CEO at age 35. As CEO of Spaan Tech, she builds roads, bridges, and technology to integrate them both. Solving math problems has always been a passion for Shah.
As an engineer licensed in several states, Smita was educated at Northwestern, Oxford, and received a master’s degree from MIT. Founding Spaan Tech in 1998 after graduating, Smita grew her business into one of the nation’s best. She has been award by INC. magazine, The Small Business Commerce Association of Chicago, and the American Council of Engineering Companies. Crain’s Chicago Business named her 19th most connected person in Chicago, as well. Ronald Reagan, William Rehnquist, Rosa Parks, and Frank Sinatra, and Smitha Shah were all awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations. Almost unbelievably, Shah was appointed by the Illinois Democratic Party as the youngest delegate at the Democratic national convention in 1996 A very successful and greatly awarded person is Smita Shah.
She also spends her time serving on various boards around Chicago. Of note is her membership on the board of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation and the Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Learn more: https://shiakapos.com/long-before-stem-was-chic-there-was-smita-shah/
Most of her career achievements have been with the city of Chicago. Smita Shah helped with the solution to upgrade Chicago’s public-school system’s electrical system and designed traffic signals for the Illinois State Highway Authority. In a decade she has grown her business to over $10 million in revenue and 50 employees.
In April of 2018, she appeared as a guest on the Steve Cochran Show. The opening topic Cochran was about Shah being an example for women who wish to be in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. The discussion showcased Smita as an example of what women can do, and more should get involved. They spoke of her naivety when she first started her company, and how she wouldn’t be that way after her years of experience. Shah gave advice to young women and stressed the importance of women studying STEM. Shah feels that women need mentorship and guidance to succeed.
Smita Shah represents the America Dream. She shows that with hard work, anyone can, and will, become successful. Her awards and distinctions, her business, her revenue show that hard work and being dorky, literally, pay off.