Intern Jill Manthey
“When bringing a new person in, whether it’s an intern or a new hire, there is a leap of faith,” said Mike McCann, Engineering Manager at In Control Inc. McCann is actively involved in the company’s internship program, so he knows what he’s talking about. To improve their chances for a positive outcome, the team at In Control understands the importance of investing in students.
“Our interns do productive work for us,” McCann said. “We try to give the interns some visibility into the different departments of our business since we offer so much. It’s a chance for us to see where they shine and it’s a chance for the interns to see where they might fit in our organization.”
In Control provides automation control system integration services for the water, wastewater, industrial, and utility markets. The work they do is complex, so as a way to “look before they leap” the company screens its candidates, looking for students with a technical background, good organization and a keen attention to detail.
After posting the job on SciTech they found Jill Manthey, an integrated engineering major at Minnesota State University-Mankato, and Sawyer Hart, an electrical engineering major at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
The connected world of integration
With McCann’s guidance, Hart and Manthey turned drawing files into PDFs and created network maps, tracking how control systems communicate.
Hart also spent a good deal of time working on-site where he learned a lot about wiring and helped update a remote asset’s radio system. His most memorable experience, he said, was switching in a new control panel that he wired himself.
“I enjoyed that not only because I got more responsibility, but also because we worked pretty closely with the city’s workers and got to talk with them and learn a bit more about what they do,” Hart said.
Manthey worked with design software to change pipe color to align with the industry standard. This gave her a hands-on understanding of what happens when a new site needs to interface visually with the system. Getting to understand how the touch screens were made and how the whole system comes together “was an eye-opening experience,” she said.
An invaluable opportunity
Given all they learned and accomplished this summer, Hart and Manthey proved themselves as a good investment. “You get out of an internship what you put into it,” McCann said proudly. “If you put in the work up front to find good candidates and you do the work to give them something productive to do, they’ll lift you up in return.”
“It’s been rewarding seeing what the industry is like,” said Manthey, “and being in a position where we are given responsibility has been a really good challenge. For me, it’s also been a glimpse into a field that I’ve really started to enjoy. Having tried a lot of different things, this has proven to me that I’m in the right place.”
“The first day I went out with Mike, we talked about the basics. Now I’m installing things on my own, I’m programming, I’m trusted with more,” Hart agreed. “To me, that’s what an internship should be. It’s been an invaluable opportunity.”
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