Class of 2010
My name is Chris Nelson and I’m a Ridgewater Alum. After receiving my initial job training in the United States Air Force and obtaining the Montgomery G.I. Bill, I set off to work in the industry across our nation. In every state I visited, I tried to participate in the local American Society of Non-Destructive Testing meetings (NDT). At a particular meeting in Philadelphia PA, and later at a new employer in Fort Lauderdale FL, the prestige of the graduates from a program in Hutchinson, MN came up.
For me, this was astounding. I had never heard of this small town or a specific degree in NDT. Later after making friends with a coworker who had graduated from this program I made the decision to utilize the GI Bill and move across the country to participate in this program. Upon arrival I was not at all shocked to make friends with and meet other students from countries around the world; after all, it was because of this reputation I moved from FL to MN for a technical degree.
Today, I can tell you from experience that in my industry, meeting Hutch grads from all over the country who are not only held in high regard but also hold some of the industry’s most prestigious positions isn’t a rarity. From a financial perspective, I was making more money than most with advanced degrees (which I still went on to obtain) while enjoying an interesting career that’s taken me from ships, airplanes, defense weapon systems, civil structures, Nuclear/Fossil/Renewable power plants to even remote robotic integration and inspections. Truly I’m grateful to be a Ridgewater graduate and would even go as far as to say…. I miss having a beverage at the Lamp Lighter!