DeAnna Leitzke ’98, ’08, P.E., the Pieper Family Endowed Chair for Servant-Leadership and an assistant professor in the Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management Department (CAECM), shares her thoughts on community service, humility in the pursuit of excellence and why the best classrooms don’t have walls.

Fast facts:

  • Originally from Shorewood, Wisconsin
  • Married her high school sweetheart
  • Mother of three boys (ages 7, 8 and 11)
  • Earned a B.S. in Architectural Engineering and M.S. in Engineering Management from MSOE
  • Is currently pursuing her doctorate

On the path from industry to education
First I worked for Affiliated Engineers in Madison as an HVAC design engineer. After I was in a serious car accident I decided to move back to Milwaukee. I switched gears and was using my AE degree more broadly as a consultant for Reserve Advisors. I obtained my P.E. and as my career progressed I became responsible for hiring new engineers and facilitating professional development. This is when I realized my calling as an
educator. I first became involved with servant-leadership as a faculty advisor on student projects.

On leadership through service
The servant-leadership philosophy embraces serving others with integrity and humility while encouraging excellence and growth. Servant-leadership at MSOE provides students the opportunity to grow as leaders by utilizing the knowledge they gain in the classroom to serve the community. As chair, I am the conduit between community partners and the faculty and students interested in serving these needs.

On her many ‘hats’
In addition to teaching all types of architectural engineering and construction management courses, I am an academic advisor, an advisor for the CAECM Czech Tech University exchange program and a faculty advisor to Sigma Lambda Chi – the International Construction Management Honors Society; Associated General Contractors of America (AGC); and Construction Management Association of America (CMAA). I also have
coached the Design-Build Team at the Associated Schools of Construction Competition since 2014. I really enjoy getting to know my students and sharing their educational journey with them.

On her biggest challenge in life so far
In 2016 I had bi-lateral knee replacement and it took me three months to learn to walk without the help of a walker. That was a humbling experience.

On what she loves about MSOE
I’m constantly amazed by the faculty, staff and students. As an MSOE student I always felt supported and cared for by my professors. After I graduated, many stayed in touch and when I came back to teach it felt like coming home. Now as a faculty member myself, I have a different appreciation for how amazing our students are – they are bright and determined, but also selfless and motivated to use their talents to help others.