Civil Engineering Tech Grad Working in Alaska
Matt Miller lands dream job in nation’s largest state
Matt Miller graduated from the Civil Engineering Technology program at Dakota County Technical College in May 2014 with a range of career options and a strong desire to work outdoors, applying his new knowledge and skills on actual job sites. He probably could not be more outdoors than the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, working on a highway project in an area too remote for cell or Internet service.
“I had a bunch of job offers before school was over,” said Matt, who worked as a civil tech for Atlas Foundation in Rogers, Minn., when he first graduated. “The opportunity in Alaska came up and I went for it. I wanted to get out of the office and out in the field.”
A native of Lakeville, Minn., Matt, 25, graduated from Lakeville North High School in 2007. He is also an Iraq War veteran, having served as a recovery mechanic with the 34th Red Bulls Infantry Division. “We were deployed in Basra,” Matt said. “I look back on the experience as an adventure. I used the GI Bill to pay for my education at DCTC.”
When he accepted the job as a construction inspector for EDGE Survey & Design out of Anchorage, Ala., Matt was following in the footsteps of Justin Winter, a 2013 graduate of the CET program. Justin, a St. Paul native, set his sights on moving to Alaska while still in college. During his time in the program, he was impressed by the adjunct instructors who teach the curriculum.
“They are straight from the engineering industry,” Justin said, “and are more than current with the technology students need to know.”
Alan Hancock, the program’s full-time instructor, remembers Justin as a student focused on landing a job. “He was bound and determined to go to Alaska, ” Alan said. “His whole second year he applied with companies in the state. Matt went to Alaska on a whim after Justin invited anyone from the class of 2014. Justin told Matt about life working in Alaska and helped him with the logistics of the move.”
Matt Miller • CET grad in Alaska
Even though they both work for EDGE, Matt rarely sees Justin. “We’re with the same company,” said Matt, who has an apartment in Anchorage, “but we work on different projects. I work as the company’s liaison with Alaska and I’ve traveled all over the state. I’m currently working on the Seward Highway project on the Kenai Peninsula. My duties include surveying, testing, documenting and checking on work progress at the site. I’m doing exactly what I learned in college. As a construction inspector for EDGE Survey & Design, I’m the eyes and ears of Alaska.”
Matt spends his free time hiking, mountain biking, and fishing for rainbow trout and salmon. He misses his family—he has three brothers and three sisters, but the scenery of Alaska is hard to beat.
“I’m so spoiled,” Matt said. “It’s ridiculous how beautiful it is.”
For more information about Civil Engineering Technology at DCTC, contact:
- Alan Hancock
Civil Engineering Technology Instructor