Two Virginia engineers—one, the mother of twins, a private airplane pilot and former Peace Corps volunteer; the other, the former owner of a professional photography company and the author of a book on the relationship between pets and their owners—will be recognized as Rising Stars in the engineering profession by ACEC Virginia, the state’s largest association for engineering firms. Tara Eschenfelder with Delta Airport Consultants in Richmond and Lindsay Swain with CHA Consulting in Blacksburg will receive their awards at ACEC Virginia’s 2019 Engineering Excellence Awards Gala on Thursday, February 7 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.
ACEC Virginia instituted the Rising Star Award to promote and recognize future leaders with 15 or fewer years of experience in the engineering profession…people who show extraordinary talent and accomplishments in the engineering field, as well as being involved in their local community. Both Eschenfelder and Swain were selected by a panel of judges from a large pool of applicants.
Eschenfelder, who lives in Chesterfield County, has been a professional engineer since 2009. She serves as Project Manager and Human Resources Administrator for Delta Airport Consultants. She previously served as Project Engineer and Project Designer for Delta. She holds a BS in civil engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of ACEC Virginia’s Emerging Leaders Institute. “Tara has contributed to Delta Airport Consultants throughout her career. She is an energetic professional who puts Delta’s best foot forward every day. She is a tremendous asset for our organization,” said Courtney Beamon, president of Delta Airport Consultants.
As a project manager, she leads projects from start to finish including planning, scoping, design, bidding, construction and project closeout with a focus on delivering excellent customer service. As Human Resources Administrator, she manages and implements recruiting strategies, coordinates technical and work skills training company-wide and on an in individual basis. In addition, she is a mentor and coach for young engineers on how to succeed, emphasizing both technical skills and basics about project deliverables, financial awareness and resource planning and project performance. She created and implemented a recruiting program for entry level civil engineering graduates aimed at increasing diversity within Delta Airport Consultants and reaching out to connect with student groups.
Eschenfelder is also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, a member of the Society of Human Resources Management and American Association of Airport Executives Southeast Chapter Leadership Workshop, 2016. As a Certified Member (CM) of the American Association of Airport Executives, she has exam-based credentials demonstrating in-depth knowledge of airport finance, administration, planning, construction and environment, airport operations, security and maintenance, communications and community relations. She has been a Planning Committee member of ACEC/VA’s Human Resources Forum since 2016.
In the community, Eschenfelder, the mother of twins, serves as the president of Southside Area Mothers of Multiples, a local non-profit group focusing on the needs of families of twins, triplets and more. She has helped raise money for the organization and provided support to local families with multiples who need both emotional and financial assistance. Eschenfelder is a private pilot and a Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives. She has gotten involved with the aviation department at Ohio State University to help educate students on airfield development including runway layouts and taxiway design.
Swain, who lives in Roanoke, joined CHA in the spring of 2018 as Senior Engineer and Southeast Water/Wastewater Section Manager and quickly developed a reputation as a leader in the water/wastewater sector with both clients and staff. With more than eight years of experience in water and wastewater civil engineering, Swain’s expertise includes hydraulic analyses and modeling, design of water/wastewater infrastructure, water/wastewater process design and utility design and relocation management during transportation projects. At CHA, she manages and leads a team of 12 engineers, designers, inspectors and interns across the Southeast United States on complex water and wastewater projects. She is a frequent speaker at industry and educational events, teaches classes on wastewater design at Virginia Tech, and is published as the primary author in the peer review journal Water Research. In addition, she is heavily involved in mentoring and advising women and girls interested in engineering including CHA’s new mentoring program for staff. She received an MS degree in civil engineering and a BS degree with a concentration in microbiology from Virginia Tech.
She is an elected officer for the Roanoke branch of American Society of Civil Engineers, an annual instructor at the Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators Short School for Wastewater Microbiology at Virginia Tech, an annual instructor at two 8-hour hands on Wastewater Treatment Microbiology workshops and has been a member of the Water Environment Federation for five years, and a member of the American Water Works Association, among others.
Besides her many professional accomplishments, Swain is involved in community-based organizations. She worked with the local food bank in Salem donating Thanksgiving dinners, organized Christmas donations to a local retirement facility to provide residents with needed items and Christmas gifts, and participated in the annual Habitat for Humanity volunteer day. When Swain owned and operated a photography business for eight years (Schaffer Photography), she donated photography services to the community, served as a volunteer photographer for Children’s Miracle Network annual fundraisers, and donated her professional photo services at many other annual events. Swain also organized, designed and sold hard cover books celebrating relationships of owners and their pets, raising more than $1,300 that was donated to the Roanoke SPCA.
“At CHA, Lindsay has established herself as a leader and has become an outstanding brand ambassador for the firm both in person and on social media,” said Kevin Hickey, CHA Associate Vice President.
Media Contact: Nancy Israel, Executive Director, ACEC Virginia, 804.477.6573,