Anne Bigane Wilson
President, BIGANE PAVING CO.
For dynamic leadership in the field of civil engineering — including the revitalization of Chicago’s streetscapes emphasizing the city’s distinct personality, bringing strong ethical practices and green initiatives to the construction industry, and serving as a pillar in the advancement of women in engineering.
Anne Bigane Wilson credits her father with instilling in her the importance of integrity. “Personal integrity is above everything else in dealing with people both personally and professionally,” Wilson says. “I have found that this has been most important to my success over the years.”
And Wilson has seen a great deal of success. She has been an innovator with her family’s fourth-generation business, Bigane Paving Co., diversifying it by acquiring two Chicago-area asphalt manufacturing operations, Reliable Ogden LLC and Ogden Avenue Materials. Both are now part of the Bigane portfolio.
In 2017, Wilson became the first person to receive a Purdue University Construction Engineering and Management Outstanding Alumni Award. Ted Weidner, the awards committee chair, said Wilson demonstrated the excellence that reflects the value of a Purdue construction engineering degree: “She is a model of the kind of person we want all our graduates to be.”
Wilson says what she learned at Purdue about the importance of collaboration has been crucial throughout her 38-year career: “Construction is a very collaborative business, or at least it should be. I have found that when all stakeholders are working together, projects are the most successful.”
Wilson also cites her internship experiences as critical in collecting many tools she has needed to be a successful construction engineer. “During my sophomore year, after completing my first internship, I could see the practical application of several of the classes that I was taking to my future employment possibilities,” she says. “The required internships were a unique way to incorporate experiential learning with the classroom learning and to best prepare engineers for the construction industry.”
Wilson has maintained strong ties with her alma mater, serving for several years on the CEM Industrial Advisory Board. She recalls fondly the encouragement and support she received as a student from former CEM professor Donn Hancher. “Dr. Hancher understood the need to bring more diversity into the construction industry,” she says. “He actively recruited women into the Construction Engineering and Management Division. He was always pushing us to compete for an equal place at the table. He has been a great champion for the changing face of construction and for Purdue students to be a part of that change.”
If given the chance to advise today’s undergraduates, Wilson says she would “encourage them not to be afraid to take risks. Risk can result in failure, but I have learned more from my failures than from some of my successes. Actually, some of my best successes have been the result of lessons learned from failure.”
This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
|2005-present||Chief Executive Officer, Reliable Ogden LLC|
|1997-present||President and Chief Executive Officer, Ogden Avenue Materials|
|1987-present||President, Bigane Paving Co.|
|1985-1987||Engineer-Estimator, Bigane Paving Co.|
|1981-1984||Engineer-Estimator, Rieth-Riley Construction Co.|
|1979||BSCEM, Purdue University|
|1981||MSCE, Purdue University|