Keena Spencer-Dobson, P.E.

SWE Distinguished New Engineer

Keena Spencer-Dobson, P.E., SWE Distinguished New Engineer, Headshot

Keena Spencer-Dobson, P.E.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation

For embracing technical challenges and learning new tasks quickly; for being a results-driven and effective project engineer; and for maintaining a passion and commitment to SWE and its mission.

Keena Spencer-Dobson, P.E., is a senior civil transportation engineer with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She holds a B.S. in civil engineering and an M.S. in project management from the University of Wisconsin–Platteville. She also holds a professional engineer license for the state of Wisconsin. During her nearly 10 years with WisDOT, Spencer-Dobson has welcomed opportunities to enhance her technical knowledge and expertise and has accepted complex assignments to enrich her leadership and communication skills.

She began at WisDOT as a project leader in construction and design focused on project scoping, a process that includes determining project needs and estimating cost. She learned essential information and where to find it, making her invaluable to the department’s scoping efforts. Spencer-Dobson has designed six highway and bridge projects in northwest Wisconsin that required her to learn the design process and accompanying software. She was able to successfully complete these plans with minimal oversight.

Her latest technical achievement involved the $646 million St. Croix River Crossing project, one of four major construction projects under her purview. The others were an urban reconstruction project and two rural resurfacing projects with culvert replacements and bridge rehabilitation work.

The St. Croix River Crossing project involved WisDOT, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration. This mega project had multiple phases, the last of which was completed in 2020. The overall project features a new St. Croix River Crossing structure, a multiuse loop trail, and the rehabilitated historic 90-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge. Spencer-Dobson was the lead engineer for Wisconsin in the field in charge of the administration of the construction contract and the liaison between governmental agencies, special interest entities, and property owners.

Spencer-Dobson has five certifications for materials sampling and testing, which have been instrumental in her successful management and completion of these four projects. She has completed three levels of coursework in the Division of Transportation System Development Leadership Initiative. Completing the fourth and final level of training will position her to mentor others.

In addition to her work with WisDOT, Spencer-Dobson is an advocate for women in engineering and a life member of the Society of Women Engineers, an organization she has supported since her undergraduate years at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville. She has served at every level and on committees that involve membership and program development, mentoring and outreach, and leadership and conference planning. A past president of the Wisconsin Section, she currently serves on the spring forward committee, which plans professional development activities.

She is a member of Gamma Pi Beta sorority and an active volunteer with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The foundation has benefited from several charitable fundraisers — including annual walk-a-thons and an auction event spearheaded by Spencer-Dobson — since she was diagnosed with Type I diabetes 26 years ago.

In her spare time, she enjoys crafting, traveling, and geocaching.

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