Employee Spotlight: Two of Weeks’ Leading Women on the Water
Jennifer Phan is a Staff Engineer for Weeks Marine and has been with the organization for 12 years. Jenn’s creative and innovative engineering solutions have been integrated into many of Weeks’ construction projects.
Growing up in Northwestern Ohio, Jenn cultivated her passion for Engineering as a young adult. At an early age, Jenn enjoyed sketching houses and dreamed of being an architect. But it was during her high school woodshop class that her interest shifted to engineering.
During her time in college, at the University of Toledo, Jenn completed several co-ops with local construction firms. When considering options after graduation, a friend working at Weeks recommended she apply. Jenn interviewed in Cranford, New Jersey, which included an impromptu conversation with Rich Weeks. Jenn remembered feeling comfortable in the interview and immediately knew Weeks’ family-oriented culture was a good fit for her.
Early in her Weeks career, Jenn designed the lift plan for the placement of the space shuttle Enterprise at New York City’s Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum. She also helped design a spreader to position protective mats for the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) tunnel project.
Most recently, Jenn designed all the falsework for the Naval Submarine Base project at Pier 32 in Connecticut. Additionally, she re-engineered the mattress spreader for Weeks 537, which is dedicated to the Living Breakwaters project in Staten Island, New York.
“I feel a great sense of pride in contributing to Weeks’ projects,” Jenn said. “Our collective work improves environments and communities and it’s rewarding to share with my family and two kids how I’m a part of those impactful projects.”
Jenn attributes her accomplishments thus far to pushing herself outside her comfort zone. She earned her license as a Professional Engineer in 2018, furthering her experience and level of responsibility. Her advice to engineers starting their careers: be self-motivated, ask lots of questions, embrace on-site learning, and that the real fun begins once your work engages in the physical world.
Another leading woman on the water is Jessica Markel, a Project Engineer for Weeks Marine. She’s been with the company for six years. It was the complexity of the work Weeks does and marine construction specifically that made her want to join the team.
Most recently, Jessica has been at work at Ellis Island, an iconic landmark where millions of immigrants first stepped foot onto American soil. The Weeks team is installing a combi-wall around a large portion of the island which helps stabilize the seawall. Weeks also overhauled the ferry slip where passenger boats arrive, among other improvements.
“I was the lead estimator on the Ellis Island bid, so I have been engrained in this project since March of 2020. It’s been so gratifying to watch a project of this magnitude and at such an iconic location evolve from estimating to execution,” Jessica said recently in an interview with Waterwire. “When Weeks was ultimately awarded the project in September of 2020, we knew it would be a significant undertaking and given the historical, national importance of Ellis Island, that we needed to have a tight approach to work that needed to be done.”
Jessica started as the lead estimator for the project in March of 2020 and her role evolved into a Project Engineer with a focus on subcontractor management – handling negotiations, scheduling and overall coordination. It’s Jessica’s job to ensure that the subcontractors work is synchronized with the Weeks team to keep everything on schedule.
“Weeks is a company that encourages and bolsters the careers of women in this. We are all on the same team working toward the same goals. We are always encouraged to dream bigger and reach higher,” she added. “Throughout my time at Weeks, I have worked with some fierce, strong, and intelligent women. To me, these women are an inspiration and motivate me always strive for greatness.”