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Becoming an associate in the APEX program has been one of my favorite moments in life. My first APEX course was Next Generation Energy, or NGE for short. In NGE I discovered that the demand for wind turbine technicians was high and it was a field that I wanted to get into. We partnered with Van Meter Inc. and toured their facility in Urbandale. We also toured a natural gas facility near downtown Des Moines, some wind turbines in Adair, and finally the MidAmerican control center in Urbandale. Some projects we did in NGE were solar site evaluations to see if it would be cost effective to have solar panels on our clients’ homes. Also, I was on a team with two other associates and we made a system to show how effective wind and solar power was on a lightbulb.

Currently, I am an associate on the Architecture and Engineering team. One of the first projects I started was a shelf for Holly Showalter. Her room is the Biolab and it doesn’t have any shelving for backpacks and laptop bags. Three other associates and I began some concept ideas and after two months of trial and error we had the perfect shelf for the Biolab. The reason it took us so long is because we partner with Shive-Hattery, an architecture and engineering firm in West Des Moines. Each of our associates are partnered with one of their engineers or architects as kind of a “mentorship program” and my mentor was a mechanical engineer. He explained to me that I need to account for pressure and stress on the shelf so that in the worst possible scenario it would still hold. Without his guidance the shelf would’ve been a disaster.

These are all reasons why I love APEX! You interact with so many people that have amazing skills and knowledge to share, which has helped me learn so much! When I have made mistakes, I have learned from them. I would recommend APEX to anyone who wants to be better prepared for the professional world.