Starting out as an intern in the Mankato office, ISG Project Coordinator Erik Pingel has now officially worked in three different offices during his three years with ISG (but we swear people like having him around). Now, the Mantorville, MN native has taken up residency in Des Moines with his one year old German Shepherd-Husky mix, Kai. Already putting down roots in his new home, Erik enjoys getting a variety of opportunities. He mentors students about careers in A/E and is a member of Des Moines Young Professionals Connection.
Thanks in no small part to Erik’s efforts, ISG has been named one of three finalists for The Des Moines Register’s “YP (Young Professional) Organization of the Year Award.” If you haven’t voted yet, or if you wish to see Erik featured in a video visit: http://features.desmoinesregister.com/life/yp-of-the-year/isg.html. Polls close January 20th.
What brings about three relocations in three years?
I have always been a person who doesn’t like to get comfortable and I am always looking to improve and challenge myself through new experiences and opportunities. This initially brought me from Mankato to Minneapolis/St. Paul. I found my niche of helping others and enjoying Project Coordination. While there, the opportunity to expand my responsibilities and skill set arose in Des Moines so I packed up my car and drove south!
How would you describe the adjustment between offices?
Apart from the innate challenge of physically moving to a new location, ISG’s one-firm mentality has made switching offices seamless! Although each office has its own quirks, each is full of awesome Employee Owners becoming friends. Being able to setup a late afternoon happy hour or lunch with them makes coming into the office enjoyable!
Why is mentorship important to you?
When I graduated High School in 2011, I had no idea what I wanted to do. However, I was fortunate to have taken a class on CAD and Arch Technologies as a junior and remembered how much I enjoyed it. I went out on a limb and pursued a degree in it from South Central College in Mankato. Luckily, my gamble paid off as I found myself in a career I enjoy. Now that I have a great network of mentors at ISG I understand the value they can bring to professional development. I also understand that it would have been beneficial to receive more guidance on the industry while I was a student.
How have you served as a mentor?
I have been able to be involved in multiple college and university visits in the area. I have established relationships with the programs and students so that ISG can best educate them about the benefits of work education, as well as the different firm types, workflows and degree paths that are available in STEM and A/E. My new year’s goal for 2019 is to take mentoring a step further and bring these presentations into the High School setting in Des Moines. I want to use the knowledge from the partnership with Apple Valley High School that the Minneapolis/St. Paul office has fostered.
What challenges do you encounter, and how do you work to overcome them?
One thing that surprised me about the A/E field is how sensitive construction is. One small change can affect a wide range of items and without proper coordination and communication, changes can be costly. That’s why although it may be tempting to jump in and start working right away, I first make myself take a step back and make sure I thoroughly understand the task or issue at hand. Before moving into possible solutions, it is critical to understand the full context and ensure clear communication. After I have grasped that, I can move in to generating multiple solutions to present to the team or a client.
Who or what has inspired you?
ISG Director of Production Operations, Randy Potter, has had a huge impact on my career multiple ways. Coming to ISG as an intern, Randy quickly showed me the ins and outs of the A/E Industry. I immediately knew I wanted to progress within ISG and one day achieve his level of knowledge and experience. Randy’s wisdom and his ability to make others understand is another part of what made me seek out opportunities to mentor students.
Where do you foresee ISG’s presence in Iowa in the next few years?
In the next few years, I see ISG at the forefront of Iowa A/E. We have already made huge strides in the past year with various engineering and architectural projects. I see the ISG brand only getting more and more recognition after each successful project and positive client/partner interaction!
How’s a lifelong Minnesotan like you adjusting to life in Des Moines?
Iowa may not be as well-known as an outdoor activity hotspot as, say, Minneapolis. However, it really is a great city to be outside with an abundance of trails to explore with my dog. As a new resident, witnessing the community’s continued investment in outdoor activity with the Greater Des Moines Area Water Trails and Greenways Master Plan has been very exciting. It is even more so when I account for our heavy involvement with the project at ISG. If I ever get homesick, there are plenty of places to lace up the skates and play hockey in the winter (although the “unusually” warm Des Moines winter has me missing snow days).
So you’re not thinking of a fourth office switch?
Haha, not anytime soon.
Remember, learn more about the work Erik and ISG have been doing with Young Professionals in Des Moines. You can click on this link below. Don’t forget to vote! http://features.desmoinesregister.com/life/yp-of-the-year/isg.html