2017 40 Under 40: Stephen Ray, PhD, PE, LEED AP; 31

Assistant Professor, North Park University; Technical Advisor, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)


Stephen Ray, PhD, PE, LEED AP; 31

Assistant Professor, North Park University; Technical Advisor, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), Chicago

BS, MS, and PhD Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

Stephen Ray, PhD, PE, LEED AP; 31Ray bridges the gap between industry and academia with his technical leadership, ability to make connections, and commitment to serving others. At North Park University, he is creating and growing an engineering program as assistant professor of physics and engineering; and as director of sustainability, he has helped implement campus composting and is reinvigorating recycling. In addition, he is a technical advisor at SOM, where he works directly with architects, planners, structural engineers, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineers to solve complex problems related to sustainability and airflow. He has contributed to the design of 28 domestic and international buildings totaling more than 38 million sq ft, individually conducted 20 urban climate studies for building campuses and urban districts, advanced the firm’s computational modeling capabilities, and helped develop its in-house wind tunnel. Ray actively conducts research in both industry and academic settings and has published 27 peer-reviewed articles. For the past 4 years, he has served on the board of directors at North Lawndale College Prep, a public high school in one of Chicago’s roughest neighborhoods that has received one of the city’s highest school ratings. He was a founding member of its associate board of 25 young professionals, which he chaired for 2 years. As chair, he helped quadruple fundraising proceeds to more than $150,000, began a mentoring program that has paired 45 students with professional mentors, and expanded the leadership from four to 12 active leaders. Having played NCAA Division III volleyball at MIT, Ray loves the sport. He helped start a small pick-up group at his church, which has provided a great outlet. He also enjoys running along Lake Michigan, chasing after his two little girls, and cooking elaborate meals.

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