Intern Spotlight: Luke Thompson
Tuesday, July 02, 2019
By: Laura Nielsen
Luke Thompson, a 2018 graduate of Okoboji High School, is a mechanical engineer intern for the summer at 966 Industries, located in Milford. He just finished up his first year at South Dakota State University where he studies mechanical engineering.
966 Industries is a new and quickly growing manufacturing and automation company, and they were originally not looking for an intern when Thompson approached the owner, Kevin Frodermann. “I asked a family friend of ours who works there if they were looking for any interns, and he referred me to Kevin and said I should just ask and see what happens.” This tip proved fruitful for Thompson, as the company created a full-time summer internship position specifically for him.
Thompson spends most days at the 3D printer they have in-house. “After my first week, they pointed to it and said, ‘See that 3D printer? We want you to figure out how it works.’ So, I ended up teaching myself how to use it, and I’ve now worked with it on almost every project.” He has also learned how to do some robotic programming. Thompson noted that much of what he has learned through this internship is something he would have eventually had to learn for a class. “It will be nice when I get to a class like Dynamics to already know what I’m doing for the most part.”
When asked about what he enjoys about the position, Thompson said he likes that there is always a different problem to solve. As a team, they do a lot of trial and error because no two projects are ever the same. “Some days we just think and brainstorm for hours on how to do something the right way.” He also appreciates that he is doing exactly what the full-time employees are doing, so he feels like he is getting great experience in what he wants to pursue after graduation.
To anyone else applying for internships, Thompson advises, “Look for more than just what is on your college’s job board. Reach out to people you know and see what can happen.” Overall, he is incredibly satisfied with his internship so far this summer and is grateful that he enjoys the experience, “I spend 40+ hours a week there, but I am always excited to go to work. I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life.”