Leader Under 40: Chad Schaffer

Associate Process Instrumentation + Controls Engineer, Burns + McDonnell – BS Chemical Engineering, University of Kansas


Chad Schaffer, PE, CFSE, 37

Associate Process Instrumentation + Controls Engineer, Burns + McDonnell, www.burnsmcd.com

Kansas City, Mo.


BS Chemical Engineering, University of Kansas


Licensed Professional Engineer in nine states. Certified Functional Safety Expert (CFSE). Active on the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS). Active on the Process Industry Practices (PIP) Process Control Function Team (PCFT). New member of the International Society of Automation (ISA) S84 Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic Systems (E/E/P) working group.

“I am often requested by our project managers to fill the role of Instrumentation + Controls (I+C) discipline lead engineer for our largest and most technically challenging projects in the process industries. My involvement typically goes from conceptual design and estimating, through detailed design and construction, and into commissioning and start-up. I am also responsible for much of the technical training and mentoring which occurs in the I+C department, and am active in improving work processes and the level of understanding between I+C and other departments.”

Non-work-related activity

Vegetable gardening: “There is nothing like the taste of a garden-fresh tomato. Unfortunately, the deer and raccoons agree.”

Engineering-related activity

While vice president of Kansas City Section of ISA, he presented a technical topic to the section earlier this year, titled, “The Impact of Level Measurement Technologies on Usable Vessel Volume,” to get process, mechanical, and I+C engineers working together early in the vessel design stage to address potential issues with installation of the level instruments before they turn into major problems. He has since been elected as president of the Kansas City Section of ISA.

Interesting details

Schaffer is the proud father of two girls, ages 16 and 3. “I made my first trip to China in June; it was quite an experience professionally and personally.”

Began interest

“After working for about six years as a process engineer who occasionally dabbled in instruments, I was approached about transferring to our I+C department since I had demonstrated an aptitude for it. I tried it, loved it, and 8 years later have combined my knowledge of process and I+C engineering to contribute to my greatest professional passion: process safety.”

Return to the 2011 Control Engineering Leaders Under 40

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