Young Engineer of the Year


Brian Swartz, PhD, P.E. has been selected by the Central Pennsylvania Engineers Week Council to receive the 2016 Young Engineer of the Year Award.  Brian is a member of the Association for Bridge Construction and Design (ABCD) Susquehanna Chapter, the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).  He is currently the chair of the Engineering department at Messiah College.

Brian was born and raised on a family farm in Pennsylvania and is a graduate of Milton High School.  He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at Penn State (University Park campus) in 2005 where he was honored with the Harry West Award for Excellence in Structural Engineering.  During his undergraduate studies he completed internship rotations with PennDOT District 3 bridge inspection, Dewberry’s bridge design unit (Fairfax, VA) and FIGG Bridge Engineers (Exton, PA).

He returned to Penn State for graduate studies and completed his master’s degree with emphasis in structural engineering in 2007.  During the degree program he spent three months interning with the contractor’s engineering team (Frucon Construction) on construction of the Veteran’s Glass City Skyway, a cable-stayed segmental bridge in Toledo, OH.  At conclusion of the degree program he was hired to join the bridge design unit for Buckland and Taylor in their North Vancouver, British Columbia office. 

Economic factors led to staff downsizing at Buckland and Taylor and Brian returned to Penn State for doctoral studies in structural engineering and a dissertation related to loss of prestress in concrete bridge girders.  During his time in the PhD program he sought opportunities to teach.  He spent a year teaching the Engineering Graphics course for incoming Architectural Engineering students and a second year teaching the upper-level undergraduate structures courses for the Civil Engineering program at Penn State.  Sensing confirmation of his career calling as an educator, he joined the Bucknell faculty as a visiting assistant professor during his final year of dissertation work. 

At completion of his PhD in 2010 Brian joined the faculty of the University of Hartford (CT) where he served for three years in both their undergraduate and graduate-level Civil Engineering programs.  He was chosen ‘Professor of the Year’ in 2012 by the Engineering student honor society.  In 2013 he was hired by Messiah College with a charge to begin a Civil Engineering program within their existing Engineering department.  This past year he was named the department chair in Engineering with oversight of Biomedical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Environmental, and Mechanical programs.

In addition to instruction in traditional coursework Brian is also actively engaged in the Collaboratory for Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research at Messiah College.  The Collaboratory partners with ministries all over the world to provide technical expertise that empowers their mission.  Much of the work is done by student teams, so the real-world setting provides an ideal educational opportunity for Brian’s students in Engineering.  He is most directly connected with bridge design and construction projects in the Collaboratory while also serving with the leadership for the organization.  

Brian and his wife, along with their four children, reside in Dillsburg.  Outside the workplace Brian enjoys volunteering his time to Little League baseball and softball and Upwards basketball at West Shore Evangelical Free Church.

Brian would like to thank his parents for providing for his education, his wife for supporting several career moves and his teachers and mentors for investing in him.  He considers it a blessing to work at Messiah College where his professional practice and Christian faith have clearly intersected to forge a vocational calling.