As I look at the calendar and see that autumn and Halloween have arrived, and that the holiday season is right around the corner, I am amazed how quickly the past months have gone.

It was only five months ago that I started working here at Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates upon graduating from the University of Minnesota. Within a few weeks, I went from learning about engineering to actually practicing engineering next to my new structural engineering colleagues at KOMA – Jim Krech, Mike Lisowski, Brian Riley and Matt Van Hoof – working through designs for challenging real-life projects. It was a whirlwind couple of weeks – in fact, couple of months – and I haven’t quite had time to hit the pause button and reflect on it all.

Which brings me to the subject of my first InterKOM. I’ve looked back at what others have done, commenting on everything from the importance of change (Dan’s most recent submission) to reflections on Target Field (Angie’s essay from the spring) to Matt’s I-still-get-to-play-with-Legos! discussion of children, engineering and the LEGO Imagination Center. And there’s some good stuff there.

So now it’s my turn, and I’m going to use this opportunity take a breath and reflect on my first five months here at KOMA. And, looking back, it’s amazing how much I have learned thus far. So here are my “top ten” highlights:

  • Be patient, pace yourself. Most of the projects – if not all – change several times throughout the course of the work, so it’s important not to get too far ahead of things. Change happens … a lot.
  • These guys are good. My engineering colleagues – truly, all my KOMA colleagues – are really amazingly talented and experienced.
  • Border battle at work. Sitting next to a Packer fan while I myself am a Vikings fan has shown me that not only are Packer fans enjoyable to be around, but they are also really good engineers!
  • Boredom? Not here. One of the reasons I was attracted to KOMA was because I’d have the chance to work on a wide range of projects. From small residential projects to highly complex industrial work to everything in between, it’s impossible to get bored here.
  • School never ends. I have learned so much from the engineers and architects here at KOMA, I don’t think I will ever stop learning.
  • Giving back. KOMA is involved with several different charitable organizations, from helping the community to shooting hoops for Huntington’s disease. Being a part of that has been an incredible experience.
  • See the big picture. My educational background crosses a number of disciplines, mainly because I enjoy a wide range of work. That diverse background has been a perfect fit here, as the whole team works to add value not only in their particular area of expertise, but across the entire project.
  • Jeans at work? Sure. As Brian Riley has taught me, wearing jeans to work is a comfortable way to go.
  • People matter. I recall clearly how interested the KOMA team was in me as an individual during the interview process. That interest and concern for people extends to every corner of the company, and across all our work. I like working for a place that values relationships and puts people first.
  • There’s room for fun. We enjoy our work. And we enjoy the people we work with. It’s important to find time to have a little fun.

No doubt I’ll continue to learn in the coming months and years, but after five months I’m feeling pretty good about where things are heading. I’m working with a fantastic company, tackling challenging, enjoyable work, all in a place that I love (you’ll find nobody who loves Minnesota more than me).

Yes, this year has been a whirlwind … but a good whirlwind.