Brandon Linder is a 19-year-old heavy machinery operator with Meyer Contracting, Inc. Growing up in Luck, WI Brandon began working at a lumber factory when he was 15 years old. After two years Brandon started working as a John Deere tractor mechanic before sustaining a back injury. Brandon needed a cane as he recovered and was advised that if he kept up with his line of work, he would be paralyzed by the age of 30. Brandon needed a new career path and didn’t know where to start.
While out on a hunting trip with his friend, Hunter, Brandon was told about Softec where Hunter would be participating in a 6-week training program to be a certified Heavy Equipment Operator. Softec uses a state-of-the-art simulator to quickly train skilled equipment operators that are in high demand. During the training program employers came to Softec to see the work being done by the program participants and as a result Brandon and Hunter both got hired by Meyer Contracting, Inc. and were sent off to North Dakota for their first job.
Brandon and Hunter drove to ND together and got onboarded over the first few days of a 5-week job. While it was tough to be away from home for the first few days, Brandon and Hunter quickly got acclimated and enjoyed their work. Having completed the job in ND, Brandon is now stationed on a work site in Eagan, MN and is being trained to operate Scrapers and Skid Steers.
Brandon’s job doesn’t feel like work to him, he enjoys the work as well as his coworkers. Brandon is also enjoying getting to travel around the region. He’s being paid to go to places he always wanted to visit. As Brandon continues to grow into his role, he is frequently in touch with Softec’s Executive Director, Tim D’Jock and his wife, Tammy. Tim and Tammy take their role as mentors as a key to Softec’s success, both during training and beyond. They check in with Brandon almost weekly. As a Softec grad, they look to Brandon for feedback about ways to improve their training program including upgrading training equipment as needed. The continued support from Softec is also paired with Brandon’s ever supportive parents. While in ND, Brandon’s car broke down, so his father drove from WI to ND with a friend to bring Brandon a working car and spend time with his son before heading back home. Brandon’s family has each other’s backs, and their help was crucial in helping Brandon land where he has.
Brandon hopes to keep growing at Meyer Contracting and wants to see how far he can work up within the company. One day Brandon may look for a union role in Minnesota to settle down and have a family of his own, but no time soon. Brandon has a clear path in front of him and could not recommend Softec more highly to anyone else interested in a fast-track training pathway to an exciting and sustainable construction trade.