It’s hard to catch Alice Westphal with a free moment. She’s a superintendent at Mortenson Construction’s Milwaukee group, overseeing teams working on complex projects and ensuring jobsite safety.
“The environment is that of family,” Westphal said. “We have each other’s backs, and we’re there to help each other. If you have a question, we’ll help. If someone is struggling technically, we’ll help with the process. Even outside of work issues, we’ll help.”
Managing the many demands that are placed on a superintendent means she’s sometimes on jobsites 12 hours a day, running from work to pick up her kids at camp.
“It’s a challenge, quite frankly, I’ve chosen,” said Westphal. “I enjoy construction. I enjoy the challenges and the dynamic. We don’t work banker’s hours. Having the support of my children and husband allows me to do what I do.”
Westphal has been working in construction for two decades. She’s an Alaska native who came to Wisconsin to attend the Milwaukee School of Engineering. During college, she had a construction internship, an experience that drove her to pursue a career in the industry.
This year, she’s back on her alma mater’s campus working as the superintendent on the $34 million MSOE Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall project. Westphal has also overseen projects at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery in Madison, Aurora Medical Center in Grafton and Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Center for Advanced Care in Wauwatosa.
“Alice has a genuine passion for her work and a strong will to win,” said Rob Myers, project executive at Mortenson. “She is able to leverage her diversity of work experiences and perspectives to enhance her effectiveness as a leader on the construction site.”
Westphal makes time to help others just starting careers in construction. She has worked with Mortenson’s Milwaukee Office Leaders-in-Training program and now leads the Women Advancing Mortenson group.
“It’s only fair to do our part to provide opportunities for mentorship and instruction to people who are entering or interested in entering the industry,” Westphal siad. “It’s not our job to do the heavy lifting for any other individual, but it is certainly to make sure there is a clear pathway and source of information.”
Westphal said she’s looking forward to advancing her career through technically difficult jobs and working with partners to find increasingly efficient, high-quality and safe ways to deliver projects.