Ben Schwegler, E.S.E. 1999, Chief Scientist for Disney Imagineering

Walt Disney theme parks can not only claim to be the “happiest places on earth,” they’re also now the most energy-efficient theme parks and resorts. As chief scientist for Imagineering Research and Development, Schwegler spearheaded the use of 3D and 4D simulation to ensure that sustainable design and engineering are utilized in all of Disney’s built environments. This resulted in water treatment technologies that enabled the first closed-loop control of wastewater treatment plants. The challenge at a place like Disney is incorporating a broad cross-section of professional visions and input. “In our world we deal with artists, so we need to make engineering decisions that allow everyone else’s creativity and good ideas to flourish,” says Schwegler.