Four Alumni Honored

RailTEC is proud to announce that four RailTEC alumni have recently been honored for their contributions to the rail industry.

Darwin Schafer II

Darwin Schafer II made the 2024 “10 Under 40” list published by Railway Track & Structures (RT&S). This list is released annually in April and first began in 2021 to honor young engineers that best exemplify the engineering industry. Schafer is the Vice President Rail Civil Group Manager at Benesch and was recognized for his work as a leader and technical expert for track and terminal design which has been critical to the success of numerous fast-tracked Class 1 railroad capacity expansion projects. He has personally contributed to the design of over 30 railroad intermodal and automotive terminals, both new facilities and upgrades and expansions to existing facilities. Schafer graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Illinois) with his master’s degree in civil engineering in 2008 and his bachelor’s in civil engineering in 2006. Click here to read the RT&S article.


Luv Sehgal

Also in April Luv Sehgal, a Senior Rail Engineer with Arup, received the 2024 Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association (CEEAA) Young Alumni Achievement Award. The award recognizes early professional accomplishments or unique contributions to society by graduates of the Illinois CEE Department who are 35 years old or younger. Sehgal was recognized for his rapid career advancement, leadership in rail systems, and commitment to engineering excellence and sustainability, as well as his dedication to Illinois and the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance Right-of-Way Association (AREMA) and his engagement with student chapters, mentoring and workshops. He holds a master’s degree specializing in transportation engineering from Illinois and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from NIT Hamirpur in India. Click here to read the CEE announcement.


Sean Pengelly

Beginning in 2016, Railway Age magazine has recognized the top North American railroaders under the age of 40 for making an impact in their respective fields or within their companies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The 25 individuals chosen for this award are judged on their industry experience and education, leadership skills, industry contributions and community service involvement. Two RailTEC alumni, Sean Pengelly and Jonathan Wnek, made their list in 2024.

Pengelly is an Engineer in the Projects & Development area for the Lake State Railway Company (LSRC). He graduated from Illinois in 2017 with a BS in civil engineering. While at LSRC Pengelly has led business development efforts, maintains relationships with the Michigan Department of Transportation Office of Rail and FRA CRISI grant administrators, and taken on lead roles in relation to CRISI funded projects. Many of these roles were not otherwise present at LSRC and he created the tools and resources to carry the projects forward.


Jonathan Wnek

Wnek has been in the rail industry for over 13 years and is currently a Project Manager at RailPros. He is a specialist in freight and passenger rail corridor design and has developed track design plans for projects in numerous states and supported many project areas, including track rehabilitation and track alignment. He is currently managing the Amtrak LiDAR Extraction Project , which includes extracting all track, signal, structural, station, and electric traction features and assets along the 410-route mile NEC. Wnek is a 2009 and 2010 graduate in civil engineering at Illinois. Click here to read their write-ups in the Railway Age article.