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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Engineering Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award

Bruce A. SpannBRUCE A. SPANN, ENG '80

For all that Bruce has achieved professionally, he says making his employees’ lives better gives him the greatest satisfaction. As president and CEO of Spann & Associates, LLC, he takes that opportunity every day.

Bruce began Spann & Associates, LLC in 2006 to provide cost-effective services in private sector and public infrastructure development to the state of Wisconsin and local units of government. Since then, the company — which he says is built on the values of accountability, excellence, innovation and integrity — has grown to 20 full-time employees and includes several Marquette alumni.

“Success is not just having a nice boat. It’s also raising the water level so all the boats rise,” he says. “Being an employer gives one the opportunity to have a positive impact on the community.”

Bruce has more than 33 years of professional engineering experience in executive management, project management and project engineering for numerous design, planning and construction management projects in Wisconsin and across the United States.

Bruce established the Bruce A. Spann Endowment Fund at Marquette, which provides financial aid for ethnic minorities who, like him years ago, would be unable to attend the university without donor support. Bruce also credits Horace B. Edwards, Eng ’46, for bringing him back to Milwaukee by hiring him 20 years ago to head the Milwaukee office of Edwards & Associates, Inc. Horace, formerly secretary of transportation for the state of Kansas and president, chairman and CEO of the ARCO Pipeline Co., founded Edwards & Associates, Inc. in 1991. Horace received Marquette’s Distinguished Alumnus of Engineering Award in 1984.

Hometown: South Bend, Ind.
Favorite quote: “Make new mistakes, and don’t keep repeating mistakes.”
Dream dinner guest: President Barack Obama.
Faculty person who had an impact: “Dr. Tom Wenzel, my reinforced and prestressed concrete professor.”
Favorite Marquette memory: “Looking out among the guests at my graduation, realizing that I was actually graduating from college with a degree in civil engineering.”
Career he aspired to in grade school: Architect. “I thought it sounded like a nice title.”
Most influential person in his life: “My dad because of his work ethic. He almost never missed a day of work and worked two jobs most of his life.”