My Journey, so far…

I’m a husband and father, a runner, a neighbor, an okay golfer, and general outdoor enthusiast. I’m also an engineer and manager for a local food plant and the RPU board president.

 

I grew up in Madison, WI, which at the time was a community that looked and felt a lot like Rochester does today. From as far back as I can remember, engineering and technology have always been my passion. I attended the University of Minnesota, and graduated from both St Cloud State (Meteorology, Mass Communication, Spanish) and Saginaw Valley State University (Mechanical Engineering).

My wife, Cindy, and I have two young kids and a dog, a beautiful home and the happy family picture to match it. While it sounds a bit like the American Dream, it’s taken years of tireless work, multiple career changes for both of us, a few job relocations, the journey of parenthood, being good to others, and finding purpose in life that got us here.

In recent years, I’ve come to discover that giving back to my community gives me happiness and fulfillment. My father, a college drop out, became an electrician to support himself and my Mom. Through long nights and hard work, he rose through the ranks to become part-owner of the company he started his career with. He also gave back along the way as a professor for apprentices coming into the job, and as a board member for the contractors’ association. He shared his knowledge and experience to those coming into the business and truly wanted to see them succeed as he had.  His success and my mother’s support gave my sister and I the opportunity to go to college and demonstrated a set of values I hold dear: effort, commitment, and developing those around him.

As Cindy and I began our careers we moved from state to state, through Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas. I relished the adventure of moving to new places and valued the chance to meet new people, and adapt to new cultural norms, like learning to say ‘y’all,’ a Texas staple.  As much as I thrived in new and exciting locales, in 2012 it was time to move ‘home.’  We decided to move back to Minnesota 8 years ago as my father was battling cancer, a fight he lost only 10 months later, and a month after the birth of our son Grant.  One more move within the region, from Minneapolis to Rochester in 2015, has given us something most of our previous homes lacked.  The sense of community, friends, neighbors, and professional opportunity has been an ideal fit for our family and has cemented us in a city that feels more like home than any other since my childhood.  

Since then, Cindy and I work to ensure that not only are we making ourselves better and happier but that we have a positive impact on those around us. We moved to Rochester so Cindy could re-engage her career as a broadcast meteorologist, one she gave up for me as we moved to Texas so I could begin my career in engineering.  Since then, we’ve both involved in the community.  Cindy was a prominent voice in the ‘Save the Track’ campaign to preserve the Soldier’s Field track and helped develop the ABC6 Weather Lab and a MnDOT bridge-building program to provide STEM engagement with elementary schools.  She’s also now my campaign manager.

Sustainability is a high priority for me and I joined the Energy Commission to guide policy changes toward sustainability in the City.  I then moved to the RPU Board, where I worked to put those policies to action.  I’m the chair of the Engineering Alliance Minnesota STEM Scholarship Committee and I also volunteer at local running events, helping other runners achieve their personal goals.  When work allows, I enjoy helping on my son’s field trips, especially when they’re to Valley Fair.