John A. Swanson is the founder of ANSYS, Inc., the global innovator of simulation software and technologies designed to optimize product development processes. He founded ANSYS, Inc. (then Swanson Analysis Systems, Inc.) in 1970 to develop, support and market the ANSYS simulation software program, growing it to the multi-solution successful organization it is today. Prior to ANSYS, Inc., he was employed at Westinghouse Astronuclear Laboratory as Manager of the NERVA Stress Analysis Group. There he developed a series of special purpose simulation codes and foresaw the need for an integrated general-purpose finite-element software code to do complex engineering calculations.
Swanson received his Ph.D. in Applied Mechanics from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.S. and M.S in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University. He also maintains numerous industry, national and local accreditations and awards including the appointment as a Fellow Member and Pittsburgh Engineer of the Year by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He was named as the Entrepreneur of the Year in High Technology by the Entrepreneurial Services Group of Arthur Young and Venture Magazine. He has also been inducted into the Engineering Hall of Fame at the University of Pittsburgh.
After serving as president and CEO of ANSYS, Swanson sold the company in 1994. More recently, he has shifted his attention to renewable energy, including solar and biodiesel enterprises. He was the co-developer of Green Key Villages in Lady Lake, Florida, the first “net zero energy” home development in the area. He has a current interest in electric vehicles, with emphasis on plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2009, Swanson is a recipient of the American Association of Engineering Societies John Fritz Medal, the Computers in Engineering Award and the Pittsburgh Entrepreneur of the Year in High Technology, among other awards.
Swanson is currently serving on the Swanson School of Engineering’s Board of Visitors. He also enjoys meeting with Pitt students during his visits to campus.