Niranjan S. Shah is the managing founding partner of Globetrotters Engineering Corporation and the founder of Globetrotters International, Inc., Chicago-based engineering, architecture, construction management and consulting services firms.
Leaving India for the United States
Niranjan Shah was born in India, growing up in a small village with no electricity or running water. He earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Birla Engineering College at Sardel Patel University in India.
The Early Days of Globetrotters Engineering
Niranjan Shah came to the United States in 1970 and obtained a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Mississippi. Chicago became home in 1972 and soon thereafter Niranjan Shah established Globetrotters Engineering Corporation in 1974.
Globetrotters’ first office was on the south side of Chicago, with Niranjan Shah as its only full-time employee. Over the years the Globetrotters organization has steadily grown to employ over 200 professional and technical personnel and has become one of the preeminent engineering, architectural and facility management firms in the United States.
Mr. Shah obtained his professional license in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Kentucky, and established Globetrotters offices in other states. He supplemented his engineering education with management training at Harvard Business School. Niranjan Shah is also a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Research and Publications
Under Mr. Shah’s leadership, Globetrotters completed numerous projects for federal agencies and results were published in several journals as research reports including the following:
- Development of Compaction Criteria for Coal Waste Embankments that was utilized by the U.S. Department of Mines.
- Interim Guide for Design of Premium Pavements and Composite Pavement Design Procedure Manual, which were developed with a strong research team for Premium Pavements (Zero Maintenance Pavements) which required no maintenance for 25 years and very little maintenance for an additional 25 years.
- Marginal Materials for Use in Low-Volume Roads.
Under Mr. Shah’s leadership, Globetrotters was asked early on to participate in many noteworthy projects in Chicago, including the Deep Tunnel Project, for which Globetrotters received an Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award of 1986, a national award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Other important projects included Midway International Airport’s Redevelopment, John Stroger Jr. Hospital, McCormick Place Expansion and design and facility management of O’Hare Airport’s International Terminal 5. These projects set industry standards and earned Globetrotters and Mr. Shah much recognition.
Globetrotters’ international projects have been equally as significant and have included security review and design for U.S. embassies around the world for the U.S. Department of State, as well as infrastructure engineering services for countries including the Philippines, Indonesia and Belize on behalf of the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID). That work included highways, rural roads, bridges, airfields, railroads, pipelines, ports and harbors, and waterways.
Philanthropy and Public Service
In addition to his leadership of the Globetrotters organization, Niranjan Shah has been very involved in public service and places great importance on giving back to the community. Mr. Niranjan Shah’s philanthropic spirit pushed him to provide support to those less fortunate. His generosity extends from small villages in India to areas of need in the United States through such organizations as The Shah Center at McHenry County College, Leading India’s Future Today (LIFT), and Sister Cities International.
Niranjan Shah has served on many local, state, and federal boards and commissions. From 1991 – 1995, he was appointed by Mayor Daley to serve on the Economic Development Commission for the City of Chicago. He also served as a Board Member for the Laboratory Schools of the University of Chicago from 1991 to 1998. In 1990, Illinois Governor Jim Edgar appointed Mr. Shah to the Illinois Board of Regents, the governing board of three state universities: Northern Illinois University, Illinois State University, and Sangamon State University.
In 1994, President Clinton appointed Niranjan Shah to the Goldwater Foundation for Excellence in Technical Education. This presidential appointment required Senate approval for a 6-year term. In 1996, Mr. Shah was nominated to the U.S. Institute of Building Science by President Clinton.
Mr. Shah has been recognized for his civic and philanthropic contributions by the governments of both the United States and India. In 2006, Niranjan Shah was selected as a recipient for the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, an award presented to influential leaders of various fields and ethnic backgrounds who contribute greatly to American society. Mr. Shah was also presented the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award of 2006 by the Government of India. Presented by India’s President, this award recognizes the contributions of the Indian diaspora to India. In presenting the award, Indian President Kalam stated “Shri Niranjan Shah has made the country proud of his achievements and increased the prestige of India and Indians not only in America but in the entire world.”
Mr. Shah serves on the board of LIFT and is a Member of the Loyola University Board of Trustees.