Success Stories

From Fundamentals to Managing Millions: EPD Helps Northwestern Energy

Northwestern Energy


The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Engineering Professional Development (EPD) aims to provide superior continuing education for engineers in the most adaptable, advanced ways possible, and in the case of many organizations including Northwestern Energy, this happens through collaborative on-site education.

Northwestern Energy project manager Blain Nichols attended courses at UW-Madison earlier in his career and found them to be impressive, essential sources of knowledge. After he and a small group of colleagues attended EPD’s Project Management course, he decided it was time to bring EPD to Northwestern Energy.

“We were looking for a course to provide a better understanding of the fundamentals of Project Management to our project managers,” Nichols said. “The on-site course seemed to be the best option to deliver consistent training and provide an opportunity for all project managers to weigh-in and generate productive group discussions facilitated by the instructors.”

According to Nichols, this proved to be a highly successful idea. A large group of Northwestern Energy employees attended the on-site Project Management course, allowing productive discussion on implementing project management fundamentals at their company and insight about how to improve upon their existing processes.

Nichols said, “The cost savings and group discussion were a great benefit of on-site training… I believe the group dialog was the most beneficial [curriculum]. The instructors allowed time to discuss our needs and were helpful in identifying our strengths and areas for improvement.”

Since experiencing their first EPD on-site course, Northwestern Energy has been able to use the skills and knowledge they learned to incorporate Earned Value Analysis into a multimillion dollar long-term project. “The EVA has proved to be an excellent monitoring tool to identify successes and areas in need of corrective action in a timely manner,” said Nichols.

Northwestern Energy’s great experience with EPD on-site education is one of many similar success stories. By infusing strong continuing education with a collaborative, custom-fit learning environment, EPD on-site courses provide organizations with the attention and resources they need to take their experience and knowledge to the next level in a way that is optimized for them.