John Mielke, left, and Frank Ruekert are seen surveying
a job site in this photo from the late 1940s. Ruekert
retired from the firm in 1974. Mielke followed 15 years
Dave Fidlin/Special to The
OF PEWAUKEE — Most of his work took place behind the
public eye, but many of John Mielke’s accomplishments
are readily recognizable.
the co-founder of Ruekert & Mielke, a venerable,
72-year-old engineering firm, Mielke played a role in
establishing a number of municipalities across Waukesha
County. He also was credited with using state-of-the-art
technology to help develop Brookfield Square in the
1960s. But Mielke, who died Jan. 1 at age 99, has local
roots that stretch back much further. He was born in
Waukesha, graduated from Waukesha High School and,
briefly, worked for the city of Waukesha. His
accomplishments at City Hall included overseeing a board
that developed the municipal building code.
1946, after serving in the U.S. Army, Mielke and
business partner Frank Ruekert developed their namesake
engineering firm, which was initially housed out of a
two-room upstairs space at 203 N. Grand Ave. in
Today, the company is housed in an office complex in the
City of Pewaukee.
was my mentor and my trainer,” said Mielke’s son,
William Mielke, the company’s board chairman, president
and chief executive officer. “He was very ethical and
set a very high bar for his profession. I had very big
shoes to fill.”
Ruekert & Mielke’s different office sites over the
years, following the company’s growth.
Dave Fidlin/Special to The
William Mielke said he was inspired by his father’s work
ethic from a young age.
was a great father,” he said. “His influence helped
drive me, and it helped make me a better, more
successful engineer.” With their engineering prowess,
Mielke and Ruekert played a pivotal part in developing a
number of Waukesha County communities. They developed
the infrastructure needed to compliment the
incorporations of the cities of Brookfield, Muskego, New
Berlin and Pewaukee and the village of Oconomowoc Lake.
developed all of these as cities and a village when they
were just towns, mostly with farms,” William Mielke
said. “He has played an important part in Waukesha
Feb. 22, 1957 article from The Freeman’s archives
attests, Mielke’s interest in engineering began at
Waukesha High School. In an interview with the newspaper
at the time, he credited school advisors and teachers
with helping him enter the profession.
college, I was able to make it in a straight four years
because I was well prepared in high school,” Mielke told
The Freeman that year.
the article, Mielke said the village of Pewaukee gave
his then-infant firm “a really big break” when the
municipality hired he and Ruekert to design a sewage
treatment plant in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
article stated Ruekert & Mielke employed eight engineers
as it surpassed its decade anniversary. Today, William
Mielke said the company’s team of engineers is around
While much of the company’s legacy is traced to the
growth of area municipalities, Ruekert-Mielke’s stamp is
also on an assortment of private developments across the
company developed a complex water system, for instance,
as Brookfield Square was being developed. The company’s
credits also are traced to sewer and water
infrastructure at a sprawling industrial park in New
Mielke and wife Lois (nee Trakel) had four children:
Linda Melham (John), William (Barbara), Cherry [correct
spelling] Finck (Doug) and Jill May (Ron). They further
had eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
preceded John Mielke in death in 2016.