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February 6, 2023

Engineer of the Year

Larry D. Swartz 

P2S Inc.


Larry Swartz began his career at Notkin Mechanical Engineers in 1989 as a mechanical designer and received his Washington State Mechanical Engineer registration in 1990. He ascended to Notkin’s leadership team as a partner in 1997, eventually serving as the firm’s president until the firm’s acquisition by P2S Inc. in 2020. He currently serves as vice president of P2S, directing four multi-disciplinary engineering groups, and is a licensed mechanical engineer in five states and certified for Alaska Cold Regions. Drawing on 37 years of engineering experience, Swartz leads P2S’s QA/QC efforts working with the design teams primarily on projects in Washington state. 

Early in his career, Swartz designed systems for health care and higher education facilities before championing Notkin’s entry into the federal market in the mid-1990s, for which he gained recognition as a trusted advisor to the national and military engineering community, including the Navy, Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, Forest Service, and General Services Administration. Over three decades, the firm held eight prime IDIQ contracts and completed hundreds of projects for which Larry served as lead mechanical engineer and principal. 

“Larry has a passion for engineering excellence that is unmatched in this industry. Throughout his career, he has maintained the highest level of integrity, always looking out for what is best for his staff, projects, clients, and the entire engineering community,” said Brad Lentz, principal and federal market leader at P2S. “Larry’s ‘lead by example’ approach brings out the best in others, and every project team benefits from his multi-discipline approach to ensuring the whole team is providing what is best for the client.” 

The long list of notable projects in which Swartz was instrumental in the design includes the Evergreen Health East Wing expansion, the Naval Hospital Bremerton expansion, the University of Washington Foege Hall, the University of Washington Medical Center expansion, the replacement of Pier B at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, and the P8A aircraft apron expansion at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.  

Swartz excels at directing design teams for engineering studies and designing complex, multi-disciplinary projects. This experience includes project scopes ranging from design-build RFP preparation to complete engineering design with construction administration focused on serving regional and federal entities. He has a strong understanding of energy codes, FAR regulations, UFC criteria, and industry best practices for multiple types of facilities for civic and municipal buildings, hospitals and medical clinics, federal defenses, maritime and aviation ports, and higher education campuses. 

When asked about his favorite projects over the years, Swartz replied, “I am proud to say that most of the projects I have done have been able to support our clients’ valuable missions. For example, in higher education — the mission is to provide an educational environment to train the next generation of citizens. For health care — the mission is to provide health care services to our communities and improve our standard of life. The important mission of the Department of Defense is twofold. They need to provide facilities that support the sailor/soldier/rescuer for their housing, fitness, and basic life services. They also need facilities to maintain and support ships, aircraft and other valuable assets to preserve the way of life U.S. citizens expect.” 

One project that stands out as Swartz’s favorite over the decades is the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island P-8A aircraft apron expansion. On that massive project, he led a team of 14 consultants to expand parking for 30 additional aircraft programmed for the base. Designing the apron parking required significant geotechnical and civil/structural coordination due to the poor soils in the area and the heavy foundations necessary to support the aircraft. It also required the demolition of four buildings and the construction of four new ones. A corrosion control wash rack was designed for aircraft to drive through (automatic start and stop — similar to a car wash) and get thoroughly rinsed to extend the plane’s lifespan and protect this valuable taxpayer asset. The importance of this project cannot be understated, supporting the P-8A aircraft’s mission to patrol the oceans (in this case, the Pacific Ocean) to ensure the safe passage of imports and exports from the United States to Asia.  

“During that project, I had originally designed one of the buildings that was demolished back in 1995. You know you have been in the business a long time when you start demolishing or renovating buildings that you designed. That project was exciting and rewarding, including many complex issues to solve, and was highly successful, receiving several design awards and an extremely satisfied client,” said Swartz.  

The scope and depth of the projects Swartz has worked on for the federal government throughout his career range from small ($250,000 in construction cost) to large (over $100 million in construction cost). Projects as varied as new and renovation of buildings such as Bachelor Enlisted Quarters to house Navy sailors, maintenance facilities to support aircraft carrier maintenance, and hangars for maintenance of helicopters and planes. He has become an expert in mechanical designs for waterfront structures such as dry docks, piers and wharves. These facilities have large pumps, complicated utilities that support ships in port, and design challenges due to corrosive environments and freezing weather conditions. 

Throughout his distinguished career, Swartz has demonstrated his passion for engineering and excellence outside the office, striving to make things better by continually providing leadership and service to his industry as an active advocate for the engineering community and its role in the built environment. He is an active member of the American Council of Engineering Companies, currently the past board chair of ACEC Washington. He is engaged in initiatives serving the profession’s interests, particularly in quality-based selection and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. 

Swartz also shares his knowledge widely, seeking opportunities to grow and strengthen the engineering community. He is recognized by many for his leadership and guidance to the next generation of engineers. He actively serves on the Seattle board of the ACE Mentoring Program of America, an institution that promotes the architecture, construction, and engineering industries to high school students. His firm has provided engineering mentors since the program’s inception 25 years ago. He has also volunteered as a mentor to engineering students at Everett Community College, the University of Washington, and countless professionals within his own company. 

“Larry has been an excellent leader in his firm and the teams he’s led. He continually demonstrates his strong commitment to mentorship and education of younger engineers in the art, science, and business of engineering, in addition to instilling a strong ethical character. The young engineers from his firm we’ve worked with are uniformly highly knowledgeable in their discipline, great to work with, but also understand when to consult others”, said Brad Fogle, principal at Fraser + Fogle Architects. “We have been privileged to work on multi-discipline teams led by Larry for various projects. He is an uncommon engineer who is not focused solely on his discipline but listens to the entire team.”

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