Ackerman-Estvold Engineering and Management Consulting, Inc.

Ackerman-Estvold Engineering and Management Consulting, Inc., a strong regional engineering company headquartered in Minot, North Dakota, provides professional civil engineering consulting services to public and private clients. Ackerman-Estvold’s careers require a professional who can juggle a variety of civil engineering tasks while providing superior quality service to private companies and public agencies. At Ackerman-Estvold, new employees are given the opportunity to jump into real projects right after they walk in the door. Because the firm is continuously expanding, employees have the opportunity to grow with the company and share their ideas. Ackerman-Estvold’s challenging professional environment rewards over-achievers. Ackerman-Estvold’s employees feel like a part of the team. The employees are the true assets of the company – no employee at Ackerman-Estvold will ever get lost in the shuffle. The strong, positive impact of each employee is felt and appreciated. The quality of its people, clients, and work environment make Ackerman-Estvold an exceptional workplace. Find out what it’s like to work at Ackerman-Estvold from Emily Huettl.

The comprehensive benefits package offered by Ackerman-Estvold surpasses the industry standard. In addition to company-paid professional memberships and certifications, Ackerman-Estvold provides 100% company-paid full family medical coverage, life insurance, and short- and long-term disability. An employee’s 401(k) plan is generously matched by the company and offers immediate vesting. Bonuses and salary increases are based on an employee’s personal effort and superior job performance. Employees receive paid holidays, vacation, sick leave, and funeral leave. The employee wellness program provides a health club credit and an interactive website offering health assessments, coaches, and information on a wide array of health-related topics. Ackerman-Estvold also offers company-sponsored events such as a family picnic at a local mini golf and go-cart site and holiday party for employees and guests. Ackerman-Estvold also provides some logo wear, celebrates employee birthdays and accomplishments, and often provides company lunch.

Website: http://www.ackerman-estvold.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AEengineers

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/AckermanEstvoldEngineering

Career Openings: http://www.ackerman-estvold.com/careers/

Employer Interview

Emily Huettl

Emily Huettl

Emily Huettl is a native of Minot, North Dakota, and received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from North Dakota State University in 2008. During college, she interned with Ackerman-Estvold as an Engineering Technician and gained valuable field engineering and introductory drafting experience. Upon graduation from NDSU, Emily moved to Colorado and worked for a land development firm for short time before deciding to move back to Minot to capitalize on the economy with a company she already knew she enjoyed working for! As a Project Engineer with Ackerman-Estvold, Emily has worked on numerous projects contributing to the growth of Minot and the surrounding area; she also provides continual municipal engineering support to one of Ackerman-Estvold’s smaller community clients. In addition to membership in national engineering organizations, she serves on the Kiwanis Club of Minot board, the Minot Young Professionals board, and is a member of the Give360° giving circle.

You interned with Ackerman-Estvold while attending NDSU for a degree in civil engineering. Why would you recommend an internship experience for college students?

I interned for three summers and it was such a great experience! I would definitely recommend interning to anyone getting into engineering because you get to learn so many things hands on, out in the field, working on a project that you may not be exposed to in a classroom. There are things from the classroom that you can see in action out on a project and things that you learn in the field that you can take back and apply in the classroom. I would encourage any civil engineering students to apply for AE’s engineering tech positions that are open this summer.

What does a typical work week look like for a Project Engineer with Ackerman-Estvold?

Typical? I’m not sure that there really is such thing as a typical week (which is one of the reasons I like it). Generally speaking, I spend most of the week at my computer working on design calculations, drafting in AutoCAD, putting together project cost estimates, etc. I also attend various meetings throughout the week where I meet with clients or potential clients to discuss their specific projects. Every client and every project is different so the work is constantly changing.

 In addition to curling with fellow Ackerman-Estvold employees, what do you like to do for fun?

Well we are just wrapping up another great curling season so now I am waiting for the weather to get nicer so that I can get out on the golf course.  I started learning how to golf last year and I play Women’s League at the Wildwood Country Club.  I am part of a Bunco group and I am a substitute for my mom’s pinochle group (pretty exciting stuff).  I also stay busy as the Treasurer for the Minot Young Professionals and as Vice President of the Minot Kiwanis Club.  In the summer my family and I spend a lot of time at Nodak Speedway.

How is the flex scheduling/telecommuting program structured in your company?

Ackerman-Estvold does not have a structured flex scheduling/telecommuting program; however, a majority of Ackerman-Estvold’s full-time, salaried staff members put in the time it takes to get a project done. Flexibility happens in the form of an employee being able to shift projects around on an hour-to-hour or day-to-day basis in order to take personal time. If an employee wishes to take a week day off, but essentially needs that time to get a project done, he/she will generally work on the weekend. If an employee wishes to take a longer lunch to schedule personal appointments, he/she may come to work earlier or stay later in the day. Ackerman-Estvold also maintains technology allowing an employee to work outside of the office if necessary.

What does your company do to formally mentor and/or cross-train Young Professionals?

As civil engineers, Ackerman-Estvold employees must remain current with their continuing education and professional development; they must also efficiently and effectively utilize specific software to complete projects. Therefore, Ackerman-Estvold does not hesitate sending an employee to necessary training courses and works with them to fit this time away from the office into their project schedules. Ackerman-Estvold also has a policy of covering the costs associated with any training or education.

Although Ackerman-Estvold’s experienced employees continuously serve as mentors for newer engineers, our staff has an understanding that, in a smaller firm, employees take the initiative to learn and move forward on a project. Ackerman-Estvold employees feel ownership for their development as individuals and as professionals through countless opportunities for professional development.

How does your company guide a Young Professional through their career? Is there a formal process?

Advancement within a smaller firm basically means more responsibility; as employees prove their ability to successfully handle a project, its deadline, and its budget, they are moved from more of a design role to a project management role on their next project. One of Ackerman-Estvold’s four owners is a Young Professional with the other three owners in their 40s and 50s; this makes for a rather balanced company culture because staff is not only led by people who are experienced and have been engineers for decades, but because they see the possibilities for young leaders. Since Ackerman-Estvold’s start in 2003, full-time staff has grown from three to thirteen, and eight of these full-time staff members are Young Professionals in Minot’s YP Network. This is proof that, as Ackerman-Estvold’s employees grow, develop, and succeed, the firm succeeds.

What processes are formally in place for Young Professionals to suggest ideas, changes in company culture, etc? How are these processes implemented?

Although Ackerman-Estvold’s staff understands the expectation to work hard, the company culture is extremely laid-back; side conversations or group lunches often result in the suggestion of ideas or changes that are then implemented. At one point, an employee stated that the only thing he liked more about a previous job was that they had Fun Shirt Friday, so we changed that! Another example was that owners heard employees talk about their wish for more desk space; the following summer, our office underwent an expansion and remodeling project that added approximately 50% to each employee’s space. Another example was that an engineer expressed his desire to know more about a project before he designed it; we began involving the design engineers in the proposal and interview process so they gained a better understanding of the entire project process.

What is your favorite part about working at Ackerman-Estvold?

I really like the overall office atmosphere.  There is a really great group dynamic that is beneficial to everyone.  Because of the way employees are able to easily work together, coworkers are able to get opinions and advice from each other and projects can be completed more efficiently.

What do you think North Dakota offers Young Professionals?

From a professional standpoint, right now ND offers Young Professionals a chance to be a part of a period of rapid change and growth.  No matter what industry you are in exciting things are happening in this state and many Young Professionals are seizing opportunities.  From a personal standpoint, ND continues to offer a very high quality of living for Young Professionals and their families.  Communities across the state have wonderful schools, recreation activities, cultural events and so much more.

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