Stan Welton (right) with Michael Hicks of Powers Products Co. at Stan’s retirement party in late April.
After nearly four decades of designing large and long-span structures and everything in between, Stan Welton has formally retired. The Denver principal’s last day on the job was in late April, which was celebrated with a party at the local Wynkoop Brewing Company on April 21.
About 100 people turned out to wish Stan well, including some 50 clients from such firms as Tryba Architects and Trammell Crow Company. The rest was a mix of colleagues, family and friends. In addition to the Denver team, Thornton Tomasetti Managing Principal Steve Hofmeister, Senior Principal and West Region Leader Faz Ehsan and Principal Robert Treece were in attendance.
“Stan’s great strength as an engineer is that he can take a complex engineering problem and break it down into the key components,” Steve said. “Then, he will simplify these key items, without losing any nuances, to the point where they can be designed and constructed. This approach has had a major influence on my career as well as many others who have been fortunate enough to work with Stan.”
Helping Stan (right) celebrate his retirement are (from left) Steve Hofmeister, Allen Thompson and Faz Ehsan.
Stan decided to pursue a career in engineering following a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. After earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, he worked for local firm Bierbach Consulting Engineers as a design engineer. He then went on to Martin/Martin.
“What I enjoy most about engineering is the feeling I get each time a project is won,” Stan has said. “I take great satisfaction when my team is able to successfully meet our design deadlines. I also enjoy the daily challenges that arise during the course of a project.”
It was at Martin/Martin that Stan met Steve Hofmeister. The two worked together on the Bank One Ballpark (now Chase Field) in Phoenix, Arizona, in the early ’90s. “That project remains one of my favorites,” Stan said. “Being the engineer of record for the first movable roof at a major league stadium was a tremendous personal and professional accomplishment. A lot was learned on that first project that was applied to the ones that followed. Each moving roof is an invention, but you do not get to build a prototype first to see if it will work. It takes considerably more thought and effort to design a moving roof than a fixed one.”
Stan had been at Martin/Martin for more than 30 years, when he decided it was time for a change. He had heard that Thornton Tomasetti was looking to open a new office in Denver and gave Steve a call. He came on board in early 2012 and was charged with setting up the Denver operation. At the time, the office consisted of just Stan and his daughter Melanie, who joined as an administrative assistant. Stan remained director of the office until summer 2015, when he turned the reins of the 20-person operation over to Vice President Allen Thompson.
Stan and his Thornton Tomasetti colleagues.
Some of the projects Stan worked on during his tenure with the firm include Pearl Place, Google’s Boulder, Colorado, campus; Block A, a mixed-use complex that is part of the redevelopment of Denver’s Union Station; the south and north end zone expansions at Lambeau Field NFL stadium in Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Rogers Place, the future home of the Edmonton Oilers hockey team in Alberta, Canada.
“My favorite Thornton Tomasetti project is probably Rogers Place,” Stan said. “I have always enjoyed working on long-span structures. They are very challenging in terms of both cost and constructability, so you have to get them right the first time.”
So what advice would he give to young engineers? “If you want to get ahead, think about what you can do to make you the most valuable employee in the company. The way to get promoted faster and get paid more is to be better than everyone else. It is also important to learn how to manage projects for both quality and profit. And share your knowledge. Become an expert in something and let people know it.”
Stan with wife Jody (left), daughter Amanda and granddaughter Hazel and daughter Melanie.
After a rich and varied career, Stan expects to keep busy doing the other things he enjoys best: spending time with wife Jody, his four children and grandchildren. “First I am going to get caught up with all the work around the house that I have been putting off,” he said. “Then I plan to play a lot of golf, do some fly fishing and go mountain biking.” In other words, he has no intention of slowing down.
A fly fishing enthusiast, Stan plans to spend more time perfecting his casting techniques in retirement.
Former Denver Principal Stan Welton is known for his engineering expertise, mentoring skills and calm demeanor. Stan’s colleagues and friends reflect on these attributes and his contributions to the growth of the Denver office and the firm. Here is what they had to say:
Faz Ehsan, principal and Midwest region leader: Stan is highly respected in the Denver business community. Through his local contacts and strong leadership of our Denver office, Thornton Tomasetti has been able to establish a credible presence there. I have enjoyed working with Stan and wish him well in his retirement.
Mark Upton, senior associate: I worked under Stan’s leadership for 11 years at Martin/Martin until he left in January 2012 to start the Denver office of Thornton Tomasetti. Stan was a mentor to me, and I wanted that relationship to continue. Two months later, I joined him in the adventure of building this new office. Under Stan’s direction, I got the chance to design structures of all sizes and types across the United States. I was provided every opportunity for growth and leadership development and given enough freedom to succeed or fail. You could always count on Stan to support you or help you out of a jam. He always had an answer to any technical problem I brought to him. But under that tough engineer persona is a man who loves his kids and grandkids dearly, not to mention his Friday donut.
Ben Kaan, associate: I was constantly amazed at Stan’s ability to quickly distill complicated engineering situations down to the root issue and provide straightforward and targeted advice on how to address it. I greatly enjoyed working with Stan over the past four years in Denver.
— Cynthia Hoffman, Editor
Follow these topics: