At Steffes, we don’t believe great minds think alike; we believe they think differently. From the largest build down to the smallest part, innovation is at the forefront of our product designs and manufacturing processes. One of the great minds who contributes to the culture of innovation at Steffes is Wyatt Kainz.
As a Dickinson, North Dakota, native, Wyatt had heard the name ‘Steffes’ plenty of times during his youth, but he didn’t know a whole lot about the company. That is, until he expressed an interest in engineering to his family. “As soon as I decided to go to school for engineering, my grandpa, who graduated from high school with Paul Steffes, told me the company has an engineering team which is involved in a lot of cool projects across several industries.”
While attending South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Wyatt learned about several internship opportunities from Steffes representatives at a career fair. He sent in his application, and, according to him, “the rest is history.” Wyatt jumped on board in 2018 as a manufacturing engineering co-op. This position is similar to an internship, but the student can work for up to six months, instead of only three. Wyatt was responsible for preparing bays in the east building for skid production and played a hand in the completion of the first skid assembled in the new addition. He also wrote the original standard works for crane operation and torquing bolts in skids. As an intern in 2019, he assisted in streamlining the process of handling skid parts through the main building as well as relocating shipping and receiving.
“The first time I saw one of my designs get built was kind of surreal. It still blows my mind that what I model on my computer will go through the production floor, and eventually out to the field.” – Wyatt Kainz
After these two roles in manufacturing engineering wrapped, Wyatt decided to switch things up and go for a design engineering internship. In 2021, his focus was the drafting and design of a new oil and gas walkway system. He assisted on a few other projects, including the design of a custom mobile platform, the redesign of the vent pipe support stands, as well as the assembly of the first Steffes Origin “Bayview” skid.
Later that year, Wyatt returned as a remote intern to work on the designs for stair transitions and caged ladder systems. Those are the two projects Wyatt is most proud of when it comes to the work he has done at Steffes. “Those were the first two that I was in charge of from beginning to end,” he said. “I learned a lot about our design and drafting standards and practices, as well as the processes involved in the realization of designs.”
Wyatt made a seamless transition to a full-time position of Design Engineer for Steffes upon his graduation with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering in May 2022. Each of his days on the job look a little different. He might be modeling new skid designs or updating existing ones, designing or updating piping and instrumentation diagrams, assisting in design reviews, helping out mechanical engineers and production when issues arise, or joining an environmental, health, and safety committee meeting. If there’s anything that remains the same in Wyatt’s day-to-day, it’s the collaboration he experiences. “The people I work and interact with on a daily basis make coming to work every day enjoyable,” he said. “Most everyone is always willing to answer questions, help, and is easy to work with.”
In his off-time, Wyatt’s a busy guy. During the summer, you’ll find him riding his motorcycle or playing disc golf. He participates in several disc golf tournaments each summer and has been co-running a free recreational league for the past two years. He’s recently gotten into snowmobiling – thanks to his dad – and has been really enjoying it. Otherwise, it’s concerts, video games, time with family and friends, and always, Go Pack Go!