Charting the future

HOUGHTON – Dustin Nordell got a job last year as a result of attending the Michigan Technological University Career Fair, and Tuesday he was back at the event at the Student Development Complex to see what other companies might have to offer.

Nordell, who is majoring in electrical engineering at Tech, said although he’s currently in a co-op job at Kimberly-Clark Corporation in Marinette, Wis., he came to the career fair to look into other job possibilities.

“I’m just exploring my options for next summer,” he said.

Nordell said he attended his first career fair as a freshman at Tech, and he was impressed with the corporations represented.

“I was shocked as a freshman to see all the big names,” he said.

One of those big names is Dow Chemical Corporation, and Tony Michalski, production engineer with the company’s Midland office, said the company appreciates the effort made by Tech officials for the career fair.

“We find the talent we’re looking for,” he said. “The students are top quality.”

Each year, Michalski said Dow usually leaves the fair either with agreements from students to intern or to co-op.

They also set up interviews for permanent full time positions.

Also attending the career fair was General Electric, and Tory Kumma, lead supplier and quality engineer with the company’s power and water division in Waukesha, Wis., said company representatives think the career fair is a good place to recruit future employees.

“They were pretty adamant about us attending,” he said.

Kumma, who is a Tech alum, said last year the company collected names for internships and co-ops, but this year they want to hire.

“We’re actually going to have on-campus interviews (today),” he said.

Jim Turnquist, Tech director of career services, said this year 266 companies registered to set up tables at career fair, which lasts all week.

“We’re down a little from last year,” he said.

That drop in company representation is due to the fact other universities around the country are having job fairs.

The Tech career fair has been going on about 35 years, Turnquist said.

When he started with Tech career services, Turnquist said about 35 companies would attend Career Day, the department started an effort to increase that number.

“It’s been working,” he said.

The number of students attending Career Day has steadily grown, also, Turnquist said.

“We usually get over 3,000 students,” he said. “It’s a tradition.”

One of those students making a second visit to Career Day was Jeff Kellogg, who graduated in August with a degree in chemical engineering. He attended every Career Day the two and a half years he attended Tech.

Kellogg said although he wasn’t able to get a job from Career Day last year, he came back this year because he thinks it is a worthwhile experience.

“I got the face time, I just didn’t get the pay time,” he said. “I’ve got a solid resume.”