Making his mark

Wright State alum John Quillen is thriving in the architecture, engineering and construction industry

Through his professional engineering, design and consulting firm, Wright State electrical engineering alum John Quillen works on projects that touch the lives of thousands of people every day.

A Jimmy John’s in downtown Dayton. A Kroger Marketplace in northern Kentucky. The new Dorothy Lane Market under construction in Mason. These are just a few of the many projects that John Quillen has touched throughout his successful career in the architecture, engineering and construction industry.

For Quillen, the seeds of that flourishing career were first planted during his days as a Wright State University student. After serving in the Air Force and earning his associate degree at Edison State, Quillen transferred to Wright State.

While Quillen had originally intended to pursue a degree in computer science, James Brandeberry, who was dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, steered him toward electrical engineering.

“He helped me find my footing,” Quillen recalled. “When I found that footing, I just excelled.”

Quillen has fond memories of his days at Wright State. From watching the Dayton Bombers play hockey at the Wright State University Nutter Center to studying with students from all over the world, Quillen found the Wright State community to be open and inviting.

He also valued the smaller class sizes that helped facilitate learning and being taught by professors who challenged him. Two of his favorite faculty members were Professor Emeritus Kuldip Rattan and Professor Emeritus Marian Kazimierczuk, who was affectionately known by the students as “Dr. Kaz.”

“They were both fantastic,” said Quillen. “When you have a professor that’s really into teaching, it’s a catalyst for all of the students.”

After graduating from Wright State in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, Quillen began working at an architecture, engineering and construction firm in northern Kentucky. He went on to earn his professional engineer licensure, and he is currently licensed in 44 states plus the District of Columbia.

After 12 years at the engineering firm, Quillen was ready to embark on new horizons. He was also traveling three days a week for his job and wanted to create a completely different work-life balance for himself and his family.

In 2015, Quillen founded Marque Engineering, a professional engineering, design and consulting firm. Nine years later, he has more than 40 individuals on his payroll.

“I’m very proud of that. We’re creating engineering jobs and opportunities for our local talent,” said Quillen. “Talent is the fuel for growth, and our region is very blessed with talent.”

While Marque Engineering is based in Cincinnati, the firm works on projects all over the country, including the Dayton region.

Quillen and his team provided engineering and design for the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection services at Life Connection of Ohio’s new office building in Kettering.

Another recent large-scale project included engineering and design for Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill, a $165 million redevelopment project in Hamilton, Ohio, that transformed an old paper mill into a 1-million-square-foot sports and entertainment complex.

From fast-food chains Popeyes and Wendy’s to retailers Discount Tire and Sleep Outfitters, Marque Engineering works on projects that touch the lives of thousands of people every day.

“When you help a young couple open their first restaurant, you see the impact you have on them,” said Quillen. “What gets me out of bed every day are the wins for my clients and my people.”

While his vast career portfolio encompasses small-scale retail in the suburbs to high-rise buildings in Times Square, Quillen’s focus is not on himself but on helping to develop future talent.

“America needs professional engineers. If you can create the best culture for young professionals to grow, you’ll be a catalyst for their careers,” he said. “This community has been really good to me, and I want to pay it forward for the next generation.”

As he reflects on his own career, Quillen is quick to credit Wright State for helping to shape the person and professional he is today.

“I truly do believe that Wright State was a pillar for the success I’ve had in my career and that I will continue to have in my life. I’m very appreciative and thankful for that,” he said. “I think the world of Wright State, and I want to continue to see its success.”

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