Roads Scholars: Where are they now?
What paths have Roads Scholars taken since graduation? In this issue we hear from Charles Fredericks, a streets engineering technician with the City of Eagan and a 2018 Roads Scholar.
What did you like best about the Roads Scholar Program?
I enjoyed the Roads Scholar Program because it gave me an opportunity to not only enhance and refine my knowledge in areas I was familiar, but it also gave me the opportunity to learn about areas of my field that I don’t often get to encounter. As a hands-on style learner, the field demos in certain classes proved extremely valuable and gave me the opportunity to put into practice what I learned in the classroom.
How does being a Roads Scholar help you in your work?
Being a Roads Scholar will help me in the future because it expanded my knowledge in several areas of my field, which will give me a competitive edge in advancement opportunities.
What has been the most surprising part of your work?
The most exciting or surprising part of my work is the consistent change in the day-to-day. You always have your ongoing projects and reoccurring monthly/yearly projects, but each day brings new challenges to face and new things to learn. This aspect of my job, and Public Works in general, is exciting to me because it keeps things fresh and always provides new opportunities for growth. Additionally, I first became interested in Public Works because I was intrigued by the idea of improving public areas that thousands of people see and use every day. Being a part of a team that sees major projects through from start to finish and improves the lives of so many people is both exciting and rewarding.
What’s a typical day like on the job?
This is always a tricky question to answer because the honest answer is that there is really no typical day on the job—that’s part of what makes my work exciting. In the winter I’m often in the office planning for summer construction projects and in the summer I’m out in the field working on those projects, but there is always much more going on and every day I find myself working on something new.
Where do you see yourself going from here?
My career is really just getting started, so it’s tough to say. I have high aspirations to be a leader, so I minored in Organizational Leadership, completed the “Transitioning into Leadership” workshop through LTAP, and remain committed to continually improving what I know and expanding my knowledge on things I don’t. Where my education and experience will ultimately take me is an exciting unknown.
What can people learn from your path?
My path is really just beginning to be paved, but I understood early on that a passion for learning is the key to success. It opens doors to new possibilities, provides endless opportunities for growth, expands your network, and prepares you for whatever comes next.