For nearly 30 years, Alliant Engineering has established itself as a trusted provider of civil design and development, planning, landscape architecture and land survey across Minnesota, overseeing projects from the heart of the Twin Cities to the northern shores of Duluth. With offices in Minneapolis and Mankato (as well as Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida), Alliant continues to build and strengthen its team by regularly welcoming local college interns to learn and contribute to the projects at hand.

“We’re looking for top talent, and we want to provide them with an excellent internship experience in their field of study; whether that’s traffic, land development or transportation,” explained Deanna Keefe, Alliant’s Director of HR. “We want to develop our interns and get them really interested in engineering with the goal that they’ll join us fulltime after their internship.”

This fall, Alliant hired Industrial Engineering Major Elizabeth Hying and Civil Engineering Major Derek Krumwiede through the SciTech Internship Program to work as traffic and transportation interns. Reflecting on their experiences, both students agreed that Alliant’s company culture took their internships to the next level.

“After seeing the company culture at Alliant, I knew this was an offer I couldn’t pass up,” Hying said. “There are tons of company events and quarterly socials. We just had a March madness bracket and the traffic group recently formed a volleyball team. We had our first game on Monday.”

“I learned how much company culture matters,” Krumwiede agreed. “It’s really nice to know that while we’re expected to get our work done, we’re not getting overworked, and there’s a positive effect that has on workflow in general.”

Decision-making, client-facing
During his internship, Krumwiede primarily worked on transportation and traffic engineering, assisting with a hydrology-focused culvert project as well as creating visual elements for Alliant’s plan sheets. Some significant decisions on said project were made by consulting the data and research that Krumwiede collected.

“It’s nice to have important elements to what I’m doing for work,” Krumwiede said proudly.

Hying worked more on traffic-based projects, reviewing crash reports and creating a collision diagram to propose improved intersection performance plans. She used Alliant’s traffic simulation software to run tests that helped predict how the intersection could perform 20 years from now, then building a report on the findings that was presented to their client.

The work required a fair amount of problem solving, Hying said, “exploring different alternatives for what’s best and coming up with new ideas. Things can get pretty creative and elaborate.”

A pattern for success
By establishing a fun and supportive culture and providing meaningful hands-on work for their incoming students, Alliant has established a pattern of success when it comes to consecutively hiring and retaining new talent. Their approach, while reliable, is also easy to replicate.

Shauna McIntire is a Traffic Engineer at Alliant and though this was her first time managing an intern, mentoring Hying, she said, went really well.

“I went off of what worked for me and applied that to Elizabeth,” McIntire explained. “We set up check-in meetings once every two weeks where she’s free to talk about work, life, whatever she wants. She’s welcome to give me feedback as a supervisor and I give her any feedback I might have.” Detailed communication is also very important, she said, as is setting reasonable goals and expectations to keep everyone working toward the same goal.

Hying and Krumwiede had personal goals too, and after working with Alliant, both confirmed they found what they were after.

“I’ve had previous geotechnical internships and I really wanted to expand my horizons. It was nice to get a feel for what civil is like, to know what I would do and what I could do. I got a lot of great exposure here,” Krumwiede said.

“My goal going in was to find work I was passionate about,” Hying added. “And getting that exposure to traffic engineering for the first time, I was super interested right off the bat. So it was really cool to diverge into this career area. I do think I succeeded in finding something I’m excited about.”

Get involved!
Startups and small Minnesota companies working in civil engineering and other STEM industries can enroll in the SciTech Program to host impactful internships of their own!

Every hire through SciTech reserves a workforce grant that reimburses employers for half of what they pay their interns, up to $2,500 per student hired.

Enroll today to hire talent and reserve your funds before May 31, 2024.