by John Saltanovitz, Engineer-in-Training
Upon entering my last year in college at Purdue University in the Department of Environmental and Ecological Engineering, my main goal was to find a job that would give me the best chance to succeed and grow professionally. I discovered from talking with other soon-to-be graduates that we had a broad idea of what we sought to do in our fields, but not necessarily a definite area of interest. This idea that one needed to identify exactly what they wanted to accomplish in their specific field for 20+ years into the future directly after college was intimidating to say the least. I knew it was going to be important for me to find a company that would offer the flexibility to find what areas were best suited to my strengths while challenging my weaknesses at the same time. Finding out about KCI’s rotational engineer program and discovering what it offered fit perfectly with what I was looking for right out of college.
The rotational program provides me the opportunity to work in different offices throughout KCI over the span of a year. I knew that working in several different fields where I had little hands-on experience would provide with me the growth and exposure that most recent graduates need/desire. One of the best aspects of the program is that the work I have been and will be doing is all related to my degree in Environmental Engineering. For example, they have designed my rotations to involve work in the Environmental or Resource Management sectors. My year in the program is structured around my background and what I want to do going forward.
Moving every three months to a new office was definitely daunting at first. I had lived in Northwest Indiana my whole life, so relocating to new locations where I knew no one was going to be a challenge. This has pushed me to get outside my comfort zone and made me a better person and employee at the same time. One thing that has helped is everyone in KCI has been welcoming and helpful in my time during the program. I think it says a lot about a company when no matter where you go you feel the support of your coworkers and know they are there to help whenever you have any questions.
So far in my rotation I have had the opportunity to live in Nashville, Tennessee and Newark, Delaware. Some of my experiences in the program have included: helping to construct a stream in North Carolina, learning about stream design, searching for potential stream restoration sites in Tennessee, surveying various aspects of stream channels, repairing an eroded bank, inspecting storm water inlets and outlets, and checking for illicit discharges in local communities. The variety and quantity of the work I have been able to be a part of has been invaluable to my growth professionally.