Engineer of the Year
Alice Westphal, Mortenson Construction
Alice Westphal’s life turned upside down in January when she gave birth to her first child, but when the time came, the senior engineer with M.A. Mortenson Co. was back on the road, driving to Madison four days a week to oversee construction of the $165 million Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.
“She’s in this demanding position and she’s a new mom to boot, but she’s there on site making sure everything is running right,” said Darlene Gluck, director of facility services for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. “The success we’ve had with this project is a real testament to her.”
Westphal is managing all aspects of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing work on the intricate 303,000-square-foot project on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, she said.
“She is great at doing the right thing at the right time,” Gluck said. “This been complicated with a lot interfaces and relationships among all the parties involved, including the university and WARF,” she said. “She analyzes a situation and just knows what to do, when.”
Westphal previously led system design on the Clinical Cancer Center at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin.
John Balzer, vice president of facility planning and development for Froedtert, was so impressed with Westphal’s work on the $120 million renovation and expansion project that he nominated her for an award through Mortenson’s Pinnacle Program for employee recognition.
“When you have someone like John Balzer singing your praises, you know you’re doing a great job,” Gluck said.
In addition to her work out on the job site, Westphal serves as a leader inside the company, mentoring younger engineers through Mortenson’s Engineering-In-Training program. Westphal helped firmly establish the program, coordinating outings and setting up in-house networking events.