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Q&A: Talking with ENR National Top 20 Under 40 Class of 2020 Honoree, Chitwan Saluja

ENR National Top 20 Under 40 Class of 2020 Honoree and Jacobs Digital Delivery Manager Chitwan Saluja talks career, how technology is changing the built environment and her secret table tennis talent.

This year, Jacobs is proud to have six Engineering News-Record (ENR) Top Young Professionals to congratulate. We're so proud of how they're each bringing our tagline: challenging today, reinventing tomorrow to their roles at Jacobs.

Join us in celebrating John Parham, Chitwan Saluja, Menzer Pehlivan, Katie Warner, Robert Poche and Amirpasha Peyvandi with a series of interviews with these young pros.

We connected virtually with ENR National Top 20 Under 40 Class of 2020 Honoree and Jacobs Digital Delivery Manager Chitwan Saluja to talk career, how technology is changing the built environment and her secret table tennis talent.  

What’s your favorite part of your role?

Our clients are dealing with disruption and rapidly changing technology in the built environment. I really enjoy collaborating with clients on these ambitious programs in providing technology solutions involving digital delivery.  I enjoy working with new technologies and figuring out solutions to complex problems that provides value to clients.

What sparked your interest in a STEAM career? 

I have always been a curious kid. I remember I used to ask a lot of questions to my parents, teachers, friends, neighbors on how things work, and what will happen if we do this instead of that, etc. Some of those questions were probably intelligent and some just annoyed people. My interests during high school were in Physics and Mathematics. That along with the passion to build things, I joined Indian Institute of Technology which is one of the best institutes in the STEAM field. After completing my undergraduate degree, I decided to further pursue master’s at Penn State focusing on digital delivery in Architectural Engineering.

Tell us a bit about what you’re currently working on.

I am currently working on a major airport program that's transforming the airport into a more modernized airport that serves passengers better. The client is really pushing us to provide technology driven project delivery and so I am excited about that.

If you aren’t in the office, what would we be most likely to find you doing?

Usually at a client site. Beyond working hours, I have my hands full with 2 kids at the moment. I have a 5 and a 3-year-old and I try to spend most of my time with them. I am always trying to find activities that my kids and I can enjoy together such as swimming, painting arts and crafts, pottery etc. to spend quality time with the family. 

What’s a story that your family always tells about you?

I have always been fond of reading and mostly my parents remember stories revolving around that about me. I wanted to own a book collection while growing up and so I used to buy all kinds of books, fiction, non-fiction, board books, encyclopedias, and such. Also, I was really into cartoon comics during middle school. One of the stories my mom likes to tell on occasions is how I would insist on buying a new comic book every weekend like a ritual. I had naturally built up quite a collection. Ultimately, my mom got fed up with all the comics and books littering around the house and so one day when I was at school she gave the entire collection away to scrap. Now I own a good kindle collection and so there is no mess and I save paper!

Most interesting career moment?

I believe it’s yet to come.

Most proud career moment?

Well, I guess I have been fortunate to have a couple of those. It was being selected as the 2019 40 Under 40 by the Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine which was a cool recognition of all the hard work over a number of years. And then also, the ENR Top Young Professionals and the ENR National Top 20 Under 40 for 2020. I was looking forward to the awards night reception but that has now been canceled due to COVID-19. Any recognition that you get whether from a client or an industry award feels rewarding and are proud career moments.

People would be surprised to know that I….

So, I think people will be surprised to know that I have played college-level Table Tennis with representing my college in India on two college tournaments. Also, I think some people might be surprised to know that I am fluent in three languages.

Now that my older one is five I want him to pick up a second language as well. In New Jersey where I live now, I work with one of the organizations for Sunday school as a part-time teacher where I teach children the language 'Punjabi'. The story with this is that I met a few like-minded moms and so we started these classes at our homes. A couple of years later this has evolved into a full Sunday school with classes, syllabus, different grades which is now part of a Sikh Temple ecosystem.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Jacobs family?

I have worked with several of Jacobs staff in the last eight years and what I really admire most about it is that collectively all of us put clients at the center of our solutions and development. We understand their world and the clients trust us to work with them on their most ambitious programs. It has been truly amazing to work with great clients, projects, and most importantly all of the people that I have worked with at Jacobs. 

An inquisitive child turned digital tech maven, Chitwan Saluja is energized by disruption and how rapidly changing technologies are changing the built environment. From BIM and digital twins, she’s using her passion for building things and interest in the latest technology to influence large facility programs for our major clients. Meet Chitwan.

 

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