Raised in a family of union ironworkers, Mel Langlais had an opportunity to live in different countries where her father built sites for Olympics competitions.
“It was a very interesting childhood that transitioned into pretty unorthodoxed college years,” she said, noting that she worked full-time on projects in Algeria, Turkey and 21 American states – among other places – while completing her college courses online.
One of her most memorable projects was at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s annex at Washington Dulles International Airport.
“My dad and I had the opportunity to work on that project together before he retired and passed away a few months later, so it’s a pretty pivotal project for me,” she said.
Langlais also was deeply affected by a catastrophic accident in which three welders on the project nearly died. She had originally planned to become a superintendent for a steel company but her priorities quickly shifted to safety. She is now responsible for planning, developing, coordinating and administering the safety and health program for Mortenson Wisconsin’s construction projects.
During unprecedented times, Langlais and her team carried out nine project COVID-19 safety plans, completed 14 projects injury-free and maintained 100% team participation in Zero Injury training.
Additionally, the Sheboygan and Mount Pleasant project teams carried out a “Take 2” Safety Stand Down. This purposeful pause in normal on-site construction operations allowed for critical safety re-orientations, active listening sessions, training and other activities.
“Mel undoubtedly serves as a key component of the success of Mortenson’s Zero Injury safety program, is an impactful member of our leadership team, and serves as both an inspiration and mentor to professionals in the safety industry, construction industry and community,” said Kurt Theune, Mortenson general manager.