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April 18, 2019

Her Mom Inspired Her Community Spirit, Her Dad Inspired Her Career Choice

We Have Our Own Fearless Girl

Sarah Phillips in front of one of her favorite downtown Madison locations, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Sarah on the jobsite at University of Wisconsin – Madison Hamel Music Center

Today, Sarah Phillips is not only working as an architectural design specialist at Strang but serving on two non-profit boards in Madison. It all keeps this dynamic mother of a three-year-old very busy. But Sarah wouldn’t want it any other way.

When she’s not assisting with construction administration on UW’s Hamel Music Center or studying how science equipment would fit in renovated laboratories, Sarah can be found volunteering around the community.
She currently serves as Director-at-large at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and as Board Secretary for Host-A-Family, a Dane County nonprofit organization that helps families in need, during the holidays and throughout the year.

For Sarah, joining community groups puts her in the company of like-minded people. At MMoCA, those would be people with a taste for arts and culture. At HAF, it means hanging with folks who don’t judge, but see the opportunity to help. She developed her passion for service while growing up in the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Her mother would bring Sarah along to help in a Christmas giving program. It’s the type of community spirit Sarah wants to instill in her own daughter.

Sarah’s interest in architectural design came from her father. She recalls, as a child, helping her dad remodel her room and watching with wonder as he took the walls down, leaving only the frame. A few years later, when she asked for a larger closet space, her dad directed her to come up with the drawings. She knew then the career she wanted to pursue. Eventually Sarah would earn her Associate Degree in Architectural Technology from Madison College and get her start working for an architect at the school. She also worked for a general contractor, learning the construction industry before joining Strang in 2014.

Sarah is both detail-orientated and a good communicator, skills that help her both in her vocation and avocations. As secretary at HAF, she finds efficiencies for board operations; at Strang she uses the same skills to prepare high-quality construction documents. And her eye for good design is helpful whether volunteering at the MMoCA Art Fair on the Square or reviewing architectural drawings.

Today she’s busy compiling the required hours towards her architecture license. Eventually, she will have to pass a series of tests to complete the program. Until then, she’s working under the tutelage of Strang Senior Lab Planner Gene Wells. This future architect is poised to make a big impact, not only at Strang, but within the Madison community.

Mom and dad would be proud.

Clients and contractors alike applaud Sarah’s comprehensive attention to detail

Inside the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

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