Don Swick, University facilities engineer with the Physical Plant Department, was recently awarded the 2015 Energy Engineer of the Year in Region IV by the Association of Energy Engineers, according to a UNM press release. This award is described by the AEE as being awarded to “those who exemplify the very best in their fields.” 

For three years, Swick has worked at UNM and has been involved in many innovative energy conservation projects resulting in compelling energy savings and energy-cost saving for the University, according to the release. Since 2012, Swick has managed seven major Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning controls and lighting upgrade projects that have reduced energy consumption valued at $600,000 annually, according to the release.

Swick's entire life has been full of contributions to the energy engineering career. He grew up the son of a petroleum geologist, and grew up in the oil industry, from which he grew aware of the impact the energy industry has upon the lives of people. According to the release, in college Swick worked summers on off-shore oil rigs, and in 1975 Swick graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Louisiana Lafayette 

At UNM, Swick accepted a graduate research assistantship working on a solar energy-supplemented HVAC system project from 1976 - 1978.

“I always wanted to be a solar energy professional, but I realized that energy conservation would have a bigger impact on the HVAC industry moving forward in the future,” Swick said in the release.

Even though most of his work at UNM isn’t dedicated to solar, Swick has been instrumental in moving the University toward carbon neutrality by 2050 -- a goal set by the UNM Climate Action Plan, according to the release.

“It is a great honor to receive this kind of recognition from my peers in the energy industry,” said Swick in the statement. “There will always be more work to accomplish that will benefit the University and the people in the world.”