LaunchPoint: Hitting the Reset Button

Minnesota electrician Nathan Engstrom began again with a new career.


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“LaunchPoint” is a new series from the Edge Factor Show coming in May 2014. It will air on TV on Cox7 Arizona. The show’s creators offer this synopsis of one of the episodes:

When life does not work out the way you planned, how can you press the reset button and start over? After becoming an electrician, Nathan Engstrom was ready to launch a successful career. But when troubles in the housing market hit hard, Nate found himself struggling to find work.

One evening, Nate sat down with his grandfather and began discussing his life and disappointment with where his career as an electrician had taken him. Out of concern for his grandson’s well-being, Nate’s grandfather shared his experience working in the manufacturing industry and simply asked, “Have you ever thought about getting involved with manufacturing?” Nate was intrigued; he learned that entry level careers in manufacturing can be lucrative. He decided to enroll in a manufacturing program at Anoka Technical College. 

From learning Mastercam’s CAD/CAM software to running CNC mills and lathes to proceeding through Tooling U’s manufacturing training curriculum, Nate worked hard to gain as much knowledge and hands-on experience as possible at Anoka Tech. “My instructor, Jesse Oldenburg, challenged us by really making us think about the problems we encountered on projects, and not letting us go straight to him to find the answers,” says Nate. By the time Nate completed his two years at Anoka Tech, he was ready to launch his career in manufacturing. But he wanted to do more than work with machines; he wanted to work with people.

Jerry Rex, the president of Hegman Machinery, had a job opening for an applications engineer. After Jerry connected with Jesse and inquired about recent graduates looking for work, Jesse highly recommended Nate. “If I had not reached out and spent quality time with Jesse, sharing with him about what we need and expect, and how that correlates with what he teaches, we would likely have never found Nate—let alone had the chance to hire him,” Jerry Rex says. Today, Nate is running CNC machines and being trained by his supervisor, Doug Spence, to work directly with customers as an entry level applications engineer.