Smita Shah Chicago IL

Entrepreneur, Business Leader, and Public Advocate

About Smita Shah Chicago IL

An entrepreneurial business leader and advocate for community development and international trade, Smita Shah grew up in Chicago, IL. After earning her bachelor of science in civil engineering from Northwestern University and her master of science in civil and environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Smita Shah returned home to start her own consulting and facilities management company, SPAAN Tech., Inc. Founded in 1998, SPAAN Tech advises clients in both the public and private sectors on engineering, construction management, and quality control. In 2008, Inc. Magazine recognized the firm as one of the 5,000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies.

In addition to her leadership at SPAAN Tech, Ms. Shah devotes her time to public advocacy in Chicago, IL, and abroad. She serves on the boards of numerous civic organizations, including the Anne & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital; Loyola University; Steppenwolf Theatre Company; and the Metropolitan Planning Council, which focuses on development and infrastructure issues at the regional and local levels. She was a member of President Clinton’s advance team for his visit to India, and also worked closely with former Mayor Richard M. Daley to lead a trade mission to the country. In addition, she chairs the Delhi-Chicago Sister Cities Committee, which promotes cross-border economic and cultural ties between the cities.

American Heart Association Provides Support for Illinois Research

An award-winning entrepreneur, Smita Shah of Chicago, IL, heads SPAAN Tech, Inc., as president. Outside of running her business, Smita Shah dedicates time to serving the Chicago, IL, division of the American Heart Association as co-chair of the Heart Ball.

A celebration of the American Heart Association’s work and the people who make it possible, the annual Chicago Heart Ball is one of many fundraisers hosted throughout the year to support cardiovascular disease research initiatives. In the past five years, the event has contributed to the $32.6 million allocated to 271 Illinois-area studies, of which $29.4 million supported Chicago institutions, like Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science. Other institutions conducting research with association funding include the University of Illinois and Northwestern University, which carried out 94 studies in five years.

Since its inception in 1949, the American Heart Association has contributed more than $3.7 billion to research, averaging $145 million per year. This financial support has led to numerous breakthroughs, such as the development of drug-eluting stents and clot-busting drugs.

Interview Research at the Human Rights Watch

Smita Shah is an entrepreneur and engineer who has been recognized as one of the most connected professionals in Chicago, IL. Smita Shah serves as president of SPAAN Tech, Inc., a multidisciplinary engineering and construction management firm based IL. Outside of her professional work, she is engaged with multiple charitable organizations and is a founding member of the Human Rights Watch Chicago Committee.


A global nonprofit, Human Rights Watch is a nongovernmental organization that works to defend the rights of people around the world. The organization consists of 400 staff members and maintains a top rating from Charity Navigator in addition to accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. In addition to observing and reporting on human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch completes ongoing investigations and research projects.

Research at Human Rights Watch is often based in findings that stem from the organization’s systematic investigations of human rights. Interviews are a key component of this research. Researchers complete interviews with victims and witnesses of alleged human rights abuses in order to develop recommendations to address the issues. After initial interviews, researchers may also interview public officials to learn valuable cultural and regional context that affects the situation.

Comment Stream