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Dave Himmelman and Jared Baxter

Two Columbus State grads are making sure the college is on the level.

Dave Himmelman and Jared Baxter, a pair of Civil Engineering graduates, did surveying work on campus for Korda Engineering, an international engineering firm based in Columbus. As part of their survey, they took careful measurements of the land and researched the locations of utility lines.

Both were referred to internships at Korda by their professor, Robert Mergel, then were hired full-time. Himmelman got the gig first, with Baxter hired on the following year.

“If you can get your foot in the door somewhere, in this economy, it’s huge,” Baxter says.

Baxter, a 31-year-old Akron native, started at a four-year college then transferred to Columbus State. “I was doing physics there, and I pretty much hated it. So I decided to do something a little more practical.”

Both Baxter and Himmelman got an associate degree in Civil Engineering, which includes a certificate in Surveying. The classes were hands-on, says Himmelman, and all of his professors were working surveyors or engineers.

“They knew exactly what was needed in the field,” Himmelman says. “That was the most important thing.”

The program taught them the same AutoCAD (computer drafting) programs used in the industry—which they say you don’t get at some four-year engineering programs.

“I could sound like I knew what I was talking about in an interview,” Baxter says.

Himmelman, now 26, says the program’s evening classes allowed him to work while going to school. He advises students to get a job in the industry. “If you’re doing it all day at work, that definitely helps you with your studies.”

Being back on campus for the surveying assignment was fun, the two say. They visited Mergel, and stopped by the hot dog cart for old time’s sake.

Civil Engineering is one of many engineering programs offered in Columbus State’s Career & Tech division, such as Architecture, Environmental Safety & Health, Mechanical Engineering and general Engineering.