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Westphal leaves a lasting impact on Michels, industry

It is with profound sadness that Michels announces the passing of Robert H. Westphal on Tuesday evening.

Bob devoted 55 years of his life to Michels, tirelessly pushing the company’s performance, and the pipeline and trenchless construction industries’ potential to higher levels. Hired by Dale Michels in April 1965 as a pipeline laborer, Bob quickly established himself as a great leader, generous mentor and valued friend to those he worked with, including the Michels family.

It is our belief that the strength of his successors defines a leader’s true success. In that regard, Bob was the best. He was selflessly devoted to improving the abilities and skills of those who worked with him.

Throughout his career, Bob filled many roles, including laborer, operator, foreman, superintendent, general superintendent, vice president, senior vice president and, at the time of his death, senior construction advisor. He helped guide Michels’ development and execution of strategic business initiatives domestically and internationally.

A statesman in the construction industry, Bob was a valued member of many organizations. In 2019, he was inducted into the North American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT) Hall of Fame and was named NASTT’s Trenchless Technology Person of the Year in 2011. Bob was also an active member of the Pipe Line Contractors Association (PLCA), where he served on the Board of Directors for 13 years and as president in 2005. In 2018, he was named an Honorary Member.

Bob’s legacy will leave a significant impact on Michels and the industry he loved. Our thoughts and condolences are with his wife, Jone; his sons Scott, Jeff, Matt and Chad; his many other family members; and his large extended family here at Michels.

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