Staying up-to-date with all the moving parts of mechanical engineering is no easy feat. In such a diverse field, it requires a passion for learning to be looked to as an expert.

It is no coincidence that RS&H’s Professional Practitioner of the Year, Keith Nix, PE, LEED AP+, has a voracious appetite for knowledge.

“Keith has repeatedly demonstrated a thorough understanding of the mechanical discipline. He is rarely stumped when presented a challenge and will efficiently determine the best mechanical solution,” said John Carrigan (Aviation – Ft. Lauderdale).

Keith came to RS&H in 2011 as the Aviation Mechanical Engineering Discipline Leader and also serves as the Mechanical Discipline Chair of RS&H’s Professional Practices Committee, acting as a technical resource for all mechanical engineers company-wide.

“I’m really shocked, first off,” Keith said of the award. “As I reflect back on it, to think that in this great group of engineers and people that we have in this entire company, to be recognized as the go-to practitioner for this group is very humbling.”

While Keith may shudder to believe he is the go-to resource for mechanical engineers, he does acknowledge that his experience in many aspects of mechanical engineering is unique and an advantage. He is an active member of ASHRAE, ASPE and the NFPA and has provided mechanical services for everything from energy audits to fire protection systems.

Keith enjoys the variety, noting that two of his most memorable RS&H projects were also the most complex. The $65 million terminal project at Owen Roberts International Airport in the Cayman Islands gave Keith the opportunity to learn a new meaning of “geothermal system.” For the project, Keith was asked to design a geothermal system that uses seawater to cool the chillers, something he’d never heard of before.

And, for the midfield satellite concourse at LAX, Keith recalls how he enjoyed working with the many different stakeholders to develop the design criteria package. The project is part of the multi-billion dollar modernization program at LAX, and the complex terminal required that the team analyze and consider various MEP systems.

As a resource for clients, contractors and staff, his willingness to not only learn, but share that knowledge is much of the reason why he is this year’s professional practitioner honoree.

“Keith has continued to promote and foster the technical development of Aviation’s mechanical engineers,” Carrigan said. “He engages his staff in project engineering decisions and gives them the needed level of guidance to help them get to the solution.”