BSCE 1975, MSCE 1977
CEO and President (Retired)
SouthWest Water Company
Mark Swatek was born in Oak Park, IL while his father was deployed with the Army in Korea. He grew up in Griffith, Indiana, the son of Al, a steel executive, and Jean, a teacher.
He started his Purdue experience in 1971 as an electrical engineering major and living in Cary Quad. His majors switched to geology then to civil engineering, (after he realized that a foreign language was needed in the science school). It was at the Lambda Chi Alpha house that he met Laura (BS Engineering Geology - 1980) who has been his wife for over 31 years. During the summer of 1973, Mark worked for Salisbury Engineering, a geotechnical consultant, and became interested in the field of soil mechanics. Subsequently, he worked summers and holidays for Sargent & Lundy working on site development, water supply and foundation projects for nuclear power plants. In 1976, Swatek represented the Big Ten on a cooperative research cruise in the Atlantic in association with the university of Miami. He received his BSCE in 1975 and a MSCE in 1977, both with geotechnical emphasis.
Following graduation, he worked as a geotechnical engineer for a number of regional and national consulting companies such as D'Appolonia, ATEC and Converse. He developed a focus on major infrastructure projects including tunnels, dams and water supply systems.
After providing consulting services to Camp Dresser & McKee, he was asked to join the company to lead its engineering division in Denver, CO in 1985. In this role, he implemented the first CAD design group in the company. The need for engineering solutions to remediate environmental contamination was developing in response to the Superfund and Mark led the development of a remediation group within CDM. Applying developing technologies such as thin-beam slurry walls and block kriging to remediation projects, he became one of CDM's top remediation experts. He was a key member of the team that captured and executed over $500M in EPA contracts for remediation across the US.
Swatek subsequently focused his career in applying design-build project delivery for municipal water and wastewater facilities. Contrary to conventional design-bid-build approaches, design-build provides a single point of responsibility for project delivery. He was instrumental in the development of two of the leading DB companies in the industry; CDM Engineers & Constructors and MWH Constructors. With MWH, Swatek was responsible for major design-build projects in the US, UK, China, Australia, and New Zealand.
Mark's career evolved to executive leadership of the organizations he was associated with. He served on corporate boards with CDM and MWH. In 2002, he attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.
In 2006, Swatek was appointed CEO and Chairman of SouthWest Water Company, a small publicly traded water utility and utility service company headquartered in Los Angeles, CA. After restructuring the company, he led the company through a significant restatement of historic financials during midst of the economic crisis of 2008. Resolving the issues, he led the Board's efforts to evaluate strategic options for the company, which resulted in a highly successful take-private sale of the company that was completed in 2010.
A stickler for job-site safety, Swatek championed the development of award winning safety programs at CDM, MWH and SWWC.
Today, Swatek provides strategy and management consulting services and serves on the advisory board of On-Ramp Wireless a start-up data communications company.
Mark and Laura have two sons, Cody a 2010 graduate of Colorado State University and Trevor, a student at Metro State University in Denver. Mark is an avid cyclist who regularly completes century rides and collects and restores old racing bicycles.