About the company:
Located in Thief River Falls, in northern Minnesota, Houston Engineering is a full-service engineering consulting firm. The company got its start by specializing in agricultural drainage and today, water management plays a big part in the services they provide. Their summer projects are both need and client driven and they plan their internships accordingly.
“We’re always looking for hungry, humble and smart employees,” said Melissa Benda, Houston Engineering’s HR Rep. “Hosting internships is a natural pipeline. Depending on the year, we have almost an 80 percent placement rate afterwards.”
A key part to Houston Engineering’s internship success is how well they invest in their students. The company prefers to hire interns for a couple of summers while they’re still in school, giving them the proper training until they can join Houston fulltime after graduation.
Meet the intern:
This is Kaleb Flaagan’s first year interning with Houston, but the summer prior he gained some industry experience working with MnDOT. From public transportation to the private sector, Flaagan was looking forward to the new projects he’d get to work on within Houston’s water specialization.
Houston made a point of exposing Flaagan to both sides of the business; starting him off with field work and surveying and then transitioning him to help with design work in the office.
“I like the duality of it,” Flaagan said. Getting to mix things up, “keeps me sane.”
One of his biggest takeaways, he added, was the hands-on work he got to do and how much that helped him learn, especially when it came to water calculations.
“That learning is career long,” said Office Manager Jeff Langan. “You start to understand that engineering is taking a science and making it a product that people can use. It’s constantly learning that you’re not just a technical person solving equations. It’s balancing that with the real-world needs that clients have.”
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