Jack C. Swearengen
Jack Swearengen graduated from the University of Idaho in 1961 in Mechanical Engineering and earned a master’s in mechanical engineering at the University of Arizona in 1963. He worked four years in industry developing automation equipment and then returned to the University of Washington to study for a doctorate.
After earning his doctorate in mechanical engineering in 1970, Swearengen joined Sandia National Laboratories to do research on strength and fracture toughness of materials. In 1981, he moved from materials research to renewable energy (solar thermal and fusion), then to advanced weapon systems development, and finally to arms control and weapons dismantlement. From 1988-1991 he served as science advisor for the Secretary of Defense and participated in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland. “Weapons development followed by arms control and then work on safe dismantlement of the Cold War arsenal,” Swearengen notes. “If that isn’t job security, I don’t know what is.” Swearengen’s work on nuclear weapons and arms control gave him a first-hand view of how profoundly nuclear weapons had changed the course of history — and it stimulated a new interest that eventually redirected his career to technology and society studies. In 1996, Swearengen accepted an offer from Washington State University to head the engineering programs at WSU’s brand-new campus in Vancouver, Wash. In addition to starting new degree programs in manufacturing engineering and computer science, Swearengen taught systems design, design for manufacture, materials science, operations management, and green design & manufacturing.
His accomplishments included assembling an Industrial Advisory Board, designing the laboratories in the new Engineering & Life Sciences Building, recruiting both faculty and students, getting the program accredited by ABET, and securing research grants and publishing sufficient papers to earn tenure (which was awarded in 2002). He retired from WSU in 2002 and currently is an emeritus professor and founding director of engineering programs there.
In 2002, Swearengen was recognized by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers for Outstanding Achievement in Education. Previously he received the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence, the Joint Ordnance Commanders’ Group Award of Merit, and Sandia Laboratories Presidents Quality Award. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation.
Swearengen is chair of Friends of SMART (Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit) and a member of Sonoma County Transportation and Land Use Coalition.
Presently Swearengen is chief scientist for WindtoGreen LLC — seeking to use wind or solar power to produce anhydrous ammonia from entirely renewable resources.
He spends whatever time is left promoting sustainable transportation and land use, and giving talks and writing articles based upon his book Beyond Paradise: Technology and the Kingdom of God. He argues that technology is not morally neutral, that sustainability is a biblical objective, and that technology must be used for the benefit of people and nature alike.
Swearengen has served as consultant to the U.S. Army Defense Ammunition Center, Sandia Laboratories, WSU Vancouver, and the State of Louisiana. He has published more than sixty journal papers including ten on technology and society, and fifty corporate reports and white papers.