When I was young I always wanted to be a marine biologist. I loved animals, our family dog and the outdoors and wanted to merge that with a career. As you probably guessed, my career didn’t end up going that way or I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this article. But animals are still very much a part of my life and my wife’s (she’s a veterinary technician). I have the best of both worlds with a job I love in engineering that also allows me the flexibility to own and foster animals.
So why did I choose to become a structural engineer and not a marine biologist, I guess you could say that engineering was in my blood – both my parents were civil engineers so it was just something I was around from a very young age. When I graduated high school, I moved up to Duluth to pursue a civil engineering degree. The structural side of things was an obvious choice for me, as the concepts and practice seemed more concrete (no pun intended!) than the other areas of civil. I came to KOMA right out of school, hearing about the firm from a family friend.
There is an easy vibe and a great culture that exists here which was evident right from the start. From the engineering side, I am given the opportunity to work on many aspects of a project and many project types providing me with a comprehensive work experience. On the people side, I have a fun and talented team of engineers I get to work with daily. Then there is the fact that I get to share my workstation with our newest family member Freddy.
Freddy is one of 3 dogs my wife Kristy and I have, we also have a horse, and a cat that we are currently fostering. Snickers is our oldest dog, named not for the candy bar but for her persnickety attitude, and with old age has come a lot of health issues which lead to specialized diet and care. Copper is next, he was a surrender dog who was bitten by his former brother resulting in the loss of one eye. He is a mild mannered and caring dog with an apprehension towards anyone new. A few months ago we got Freddy. We joked that he was going to be the easy addition – the one with no extra care required – but it turns out he just completes the circle and now we have 3 dogs (and one foster cat) with specific care. Freddy is a sweet mix of Boxer, Pitbull, Husky, and Basset and we quickly discovered that he had an intense amount of separation anxiety due to his volatile past.
Now Freddy comes to work with me at KOMA every day, he has happily taken over half of my workstation making it his own. He has gotten to know the team well and welcomes belly rubs and handshakes from everyone. Day by day his anxiety is getting better and he’s made KOMA a place of comfort allowing me to take off for a few hours to do site visits. Not everyone appreciates the work that goes into animals who need extra love and care. It is cool to see everyone embrace him and his time here and allow Kristy and I to do what we need to do for our animals. We wouldn’t trade them for anything and even when Freddy is able to stay home on his own, I’m sure he’ll be back to visit often!