Before ISG Construction Administrator Darin Howell was kicking around construction contracts, he was punting footballs for the Mavericks at Minnesota State University-Mankato. Now, the Wisconsin native rejoins his former college teammate, Civil Engineer Sam Brockshus, at ISG’s Mankato office. On the job, Darin enjoys operating with the same team-centric atmosphere he found on the football field and leverages the unique strengths of multi-disciplinary ISG players. On the golf course, he enjoys Spotted Cow beer.
Why’d you take the job at ISG?
My first job out of college was mapping out gas lines in Minneapolis, but when the opportunity to join ISG as an Employee Owner presented itself I jumped on it. Working for ISG allows me to combine my love for people and the outdoors with my GIS background and skillset. Although I loved the Twin Cities, especially the breweries, I wanted to relocate to Mankato to start a family with my fiancé Kelsey. As an added bonus, there’s a picture of Sam and me playing football on the break room vending machine here, which is cool.
How does your GIS background work to your advantage as a Construction Administrator?
My experience with GIS has given me familiarity with the systems that we use to deliver accurate as-builts for our clients. This helps me be more efficient with mine and our client’s time, and keep projects proceeding in a timely manner. In addition it gives me a better understanding and appreciation of what our engineers and designers do to create a quality plan set for us construction administrators to work with. That creates better working relationships with my fellow ISGers, saves both me and the client time and effort, and makes my transition from the field to the office in the winter months a little easier.
How do you approach a challenge?
I like to approach a challenge by looking at all of the variables that could have caused it before making any decision. If I cannot figure out the source, I ask questions to my coworkers and try to solve the issue together as a team. Challenges are a great way to learn for me, and I am able to retain information better if I am actually doing the work.
What lessons from your football days do you use at work?
Teamwork and communication are the biggest lessons that transfer over to both work here at ISG and everyday life. Trusting in myself and my teammates or coworkers to help me out if I need it gives me much more confidence in my work. I also like to have fun at work like I did while playing football, and that has not been too hard with the fun culture already in place here at ISG!
How’s your team at ISG different from your team at MSU?
The ISG and MSU teams are actually pretty similar. Both have lot of people that come from different backgrounds and specialize in different areas or positions. However, all are equally needed in order to “win.” No matter what you may specialize in, or position you play, you need to communicate effectively within your group to ensure that you are all on the same page. If the communication is not there, mistakes can happen and we end up on the losing end.
What gets you most excited about ISG’s future and your future at the firm?
I am most excited about the areas of growth and movement that are available to me here at ISG. There are many different disciplines that I’m continuously learning more and more about, and ISG is constantly offering new avenues to explore. The current culture here at ISG also makes me excited about the future of the firm. The environment here is also something I have never experienced before. People actually enjoy showing up for work and to have that type of feeling across an entire company is something special.
What are five things people might not know about you?
- I’m from Mukwonago, Wisconsin, a small town that is about 40 minutes southwest of Milwaukee.
- Kelsey and I are thinking about going to Scotland for our honeymoon. Her for the sights, me for the golf.
- We like to go hiking, bike riding, get dollar taps at Patrick’s on 3rd in St. Peter, and travel.
- We have two dogs. Halsey is four and is a spaniel mix and Stryker is two and is a Black Mouthed Curr mix.
- I love the water and make sure I am on a lake or river whenever possible. I would like to own a Pontoon to just hang out with friends and family.