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Look before you leap Manufacturing experts talk about careers

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Steven Aesoph, operations manager for United Technologies Corp., visits with area high school students Thursday during Manufacturing Day at the Harold Newman Arena on the campus of the University of Jamestown. John M. Steiner / The Sun2 / 2

Students should think ahead and experience as much as possible about a career before committing to a career choice, according to Steven Aesoph, operations manager for United Technologies Corp.

Aesoph addressed about 75 students from Mid-Kota, Griggs, LaMoure, Ellendale and Jamestown high schools during a Manufacturing Day event Thursday at Harold Newman Arena of the University of Jamestown. After changing his major twice in college and then going into retail banking, he said taking a manufacturing job was good fortune.

“When I got into manufacturing that’s where the fascination began,” Aesoph said. “My career story and my story as a person through personal growth started with the fascination of manufacturing.”

Aesoph said finding his calling came, unfortunately, after 15 years and $30,000 in student loans. He wanted to talk to students about starting a conversation with them, their parents and the career adviser about what career path they are passionate about.

“If they (students) are interested in physics and math they can be a successful mechanical engineer.”

University HOSEIN BABOLY of Jamestown , professor in the mechanical engineering program

“That is what this day is all about,” he said.

It is important to help kids start thinking about their future and plan for it rather than to just let it happen, he said. Just as many bad things can happen by relying on chance as good things.

“I was fortunate enough to have good things happen when I relied on chance but I learned a lot of lessons along the way,” he said.

Aesoph encouraged students to seek resources that help them to learn about available jobs, where there are programs to reduce or eliminate student loan debt, or that provide a work experience to see what the work is like before making a decision on the career path.

“This is an opportunity to help you make an informed decision about the rest of your lives,” he said.

Katherine Roth, executive director of the Jamestown Regional Entrepreneur Center, said the event was to help students understand what is happening in modern manufacturing.

With the highest average 10-year retention among all industries at 9.1 years, manufacturing also has the lowest turnover at 2.3 percent, she said. Manufacturing workers earn an average of $20,000 more than the average American worker, she said.

Iris Brandt, school counselor for Midkota School District, said five Midkota students attended the event. She said students need to be exposed to employment opportunities that pay above-average wages and provide excellent benefits.

“Students with an aptitude and interest for agriculture, food production, metal fabrication, mineral processing or wood fabrication need to know that there are opportunities in their own backyard,” Brandt said.

Danica Chaput, customer service consultant for Job Service North Dakota in Jamestown, said she presented students with resources to research careers in engineering.

“We’re just here to help in any way we can,” Chaput said.

Derik Marquart, plant manager at Dakota Spirit AgEnergy, said there are around 100 manufacturing jobs at the Spiritwood ethanol plant and at other Midwest AgEnergy locations.

“We definitely have a lot of opportunities for people,” Marquart said.

Other area companies present to talk about manufacturing-related jobs included Cargill’s Spiritwood facility, Newman Signs and Border States Paving. The students toured Cavendish Farms and DuraTech Industries.

Jaren Wibstad, a JHS senior, said he liked talking with company representatives and got some ideas from the event. Abby Soulis, a JHS junior, said she liked learning about manufacturing around Jamestown.

“We live here but we have never really gone to any of these places and it’s just cool to see what there actually is around here,” Soulis said.

Hosein Baboly, a UJ professor in the mechanical engineering program, spoke to students about four-year degree programs in mechanical engineering.

“If they (students) are interested in physics and math they can be a successful mechanical engineer,” Baboly said. “So, it’s up to them, if they are passionate about it; we are developing exciting labs to help them to become very successful mechanical engineers.”

tlaventure@jamestownsun.com

(701) 952-8455

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