Intern Success is Our Success or, How You Grow at Our Firm

Internships are a part of every highly specialized industry. Quite simply, there’s a time for abstract learning and a time to roll your sleeves up and learn firsthand. Both experiences are pivotal to understanding our industry and cultivating a skill set you can call your own. It builds value in both expertise and character—both of which are priceless. At BFW/Marcum, we think of interns as an investment in our future, not as a seat to fill and certainly not as cheap labor.

We figured we would take a look at our intern success stories. We were surprised by just how many of our great team members started at the firm as interns only to stay on with BFW/Marcum and become valuable players that we rely on every single day. It makes sense—what better way to cultivate in a person a sense of your firm’s culture (pride in the community, a hardened work ethic, and a fearless commitment to quality) than to bring them into the fold fresh out of college? We took a tally of the interns that liked us enough to stay aboard and asked them about themselves.

Dylan Givens, EIT

Project Engineer II

What He Brings to the Table:

“I have a degree in civil engineering and have had multiple internships in my field before working with BFW/Marcum. I’m a young engineer so I bring a fresh perspective to the table. My coworkers tell me I’m decent at chess.”

How He Got Here:

“I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Western Kentucky Universal. I was hired as an intern my senior year and that led to a job offer upon graduation.”

A Quote He Lives by:

“Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.” – Ron Swanson

Heath Pederson

Structural Staff Engineer

What He Brings to the Table:

“As a young engineer in the field, I have a variety of software skills, including using finite element analysis programs, through both experience and graduate research. I thrive in positions of leadership and enjoy working together as part of a team exploring new ideas, thoughts, and concepts. I’m passionate about health, fitness, and nutrition and I believe there’s no better time than right now to start taking care of your mental and physical wellness.”

How He Got Here:

“I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2017 from South Dakota State University (SDSU). I then obtained a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering with a Structural emphasis in the summer of 2019, also from SDSU. During my education, I spent 4 summers interning with BFW/Marcum in the structural department in the Paducah office. The size of the company, the location (Champaign, IL), and the familiarity with the company were all contributing factors that ultimately led me back to BFW as a full-time employee.”

A Quote He Lives by:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change” – Charles Darwin

Bryan Atkins, PE

Project Manager/Mechanical Engineer

What He Brings to the Table:

“I bring a mechanical engineering degree.  I bring leadership and communication skills. I also bring a smile and eye contact which is unusual for engineers.”

How He Got Here:

“I went to the University of Kentucky at Paducah. I got my Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. I started as an intern in February of my Senior year of College. I guess they liked me enough to offer me a full-time position in May, and that was twelve years ago. Time flies.”

A Quote He Lives by:

“Listen a lot and talk less. You can’t learn anything when you’re talking” – Bing Crosby

Brandon Henk, EIT

Structural Engineer

What He Brings to the Table:

“I have a degree in Civil Engineering with a specialization in structures from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Being a recent graduate, I am eager to learn and apply what I have learned to real-life projects.”

How He Got Here:

“I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in civil engineering from SIUE. I was hired as an intern during my junior year and then offered a full-time position once I graduated. The rest is history.”

A Quote He Lives by:

“You must believe in yourself enough to be the person now, that you want others to remember you for later.” – Greg Plitt

Elijah Arterburn, EIT

Mechanical Engineer

What He Brings to the Table:

“I have just graduated from the University of Kentucky with a mechanical engineering degree. I bring some experience in KDE facility surveys from my two summer internships at BFW/Marcum. I bring a love for the outdoors and a lot of energy!”

How He Got Here:

“I graduated in May 2020 from the University of Kentucky College of Engineering with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. I had the privilege of working with BFW/Marcum through two years of summer internships. I really enjoyed my internships at the firm and I would like to continue living in west Kentucky which made accepting a job offer from BFW/Marcum a no-brainer.”

A Quote He Lives by:

“Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress what is evil; our great hope lies in developing what is good.” – Calvin Coolidge

Ryan Teitloff

Civil Designer

What He Brings to the Table:

“I have a degree in Civil Engineering Technology from Murray State University. Along with some construction experience while in college, growing up on a farm has also given me a hard work ethic and problem-solving skills. I love the career field I’m in, and that allows me to bring an eager and excited mindset to the table. I strive to produce a product that I can take pride in and represents a high standard of the company.”

How He Got Here:

“I interned with BFW the summer of my senior year. Once I graduated from Murray State University in December, I interviewed to come back and become full time. They agreed to keep me so here I am 4 years later.”

A Quote He Lives by:

“Life’s a dance you learn as you go.” – John Michael Montgomery

Nathan Thomas

Electrical Coordinator

What He Brings to the Table:

At Marcum Engineering, I provide design, analysis, coordination and arc flash for power systems. I am a fast learner who welcomes new challenges, and am constantly looking for ways to evolve to meet the ever changing needs of our clients.  My wife and her family own/operate a beauty distributor here in Paducah.  Just from conversations we have had/listening to there conversation I have gained very minimal knowledge about when compared to them about these products.  Around an office full of engineers, many in this building consider me an expert in this area and occasionally ask for recommendations.  I would say never listen to me on that subject matter unless I start off by saying “my wife said”.

How He Got Here:

“I have a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Murray State University. I’m pretty sure that I am the only person in the company with this degree.  When people ask me what degree I have, I normally go ahead and explain what it is because I usually get the “deer in the headlights” stare. I was hired on as an intern during my senior year. I was able to continue working as an intern during my last semester of school and eventually given a job offer before I graduated.”

A Quote He Lives by:

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my ax.” – Abraham Lincoln”

Josh Alstat, EIT

Structural Project Engineer II

What He Brings to the Table:

“I have a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and have over four years of experience in structural engineering project design and management. I am an adrenaline junkie that has the unique skill of peer pressuring—I mean, convincing—other engineering colleagues into jumping off cliffs as a team-building exercise.”

How He Got Here:

“During my Senior year at SIUC, I was hired on BFW under a co-op internship program that allowed me to work part-time while going to school. After graduation, I was offered a full-time position and have been with the company ever since.”

A Quote He Lives by:

“Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy – both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.” – Michael Scott

Cayenne Tanner

Materials Laboratory Manager

What She Brings to the Table:

“I have a degree in civil engineering from Southern Illinois University of Carbondale and have had various internships, one of which was with BFW/Marcum. At the firm, I work as a materials lab manager and keep everything in order and make sure we have reliable testing. I bring new ways and ideas to improve the lab’s work and efficiency. I also love to hike and kayak around the local areas and participate in the canoeing competition with the BFW/Marcum team. We give other teams a run for their money. I also love to participate in the dodge ball tournament fundraiser that the company participates in.”

How She Got Here:

“I have a Bachelor’s Degree in civil engineering from Southern Illinois University of Carbondale. I was hired on as an intern during my senior year. I worked for MODOT for a couple of years but loved my internship with the BFW/Marcum team so much that I wanted to work for them for the long haul. I waited for the right openings that fit me best and applied. The rest is history.”

A Quote She Lives by:

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Anonymous

Phillip Holthaus, PE, SE

Structural Engineer

What He Brings to the Table:

“As a manager, I feel that I bring a level head to the company and deal with the challenges that arise calmly with the design and construction teams. The relationships that I built with our clients feel like friendships and this helps develop trust in our services and longevity in our relationships. We don’t shy away from unique team building activities…like an escape room or two.”

How He Got Here:

“I went to Southern Illinois University Carbondale. During our senior design project, an existing BFW/Marcum structural engineer (Chris Whiting) was on the advisory board and was impressed with my portion of our presentation. Little did I know that I was being interviewed when conducting a question and answer on our drawings before the presentation. He offered me a chance to work part-time while I worked on my masters and I took him up on it.”

A Quote He Lives by:

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

Justin Holt, EIT

Staff Structural Engineer

What He Brings to the Table:

“In addition to studying civil engineering at the University of Kentucky and working as an engineering intern for three summers, I also minored in geography in college and worked at my grandfather’s land surveying company throughout high school. So I bring a geospatial perspective to the structural team that is fairly unique. I also bring with me an extensive knowledge of sports, as I am a huge fan of Cardinals baseball, Titans football, and UK sports.”

How He Got Here:

“I graduated from the University of Kentucky with a BSCE in 2018 and MSCE in 2019. During this time, I worked as an intern at BFW/Marcum in the summers after my freshman and sophomore years. Then, after spending summers studying abroad in Ecuador and working as a structural engineering intern in Nashville, I returned home to western Kentucky to work here full-time as a structural engineer.”

A Quote He Lives by:

“It is not your business to succeed, but to do right; when you have done so, the rest lies with God.” – C.S. Lewis