Summer in the Twin Cities

Don’t ask me how it happened, but I’ve ended up in the Twin Cities for the summer.  Another summer, another city.  Here’s what brought me up here and what I’ve been up to….

Stone Arch Bridge

Stone Arch Bridge

Internship From Nowhere

“Hey, can you pull together a cover letter and polish up your resume within the hour?”  After weeks of searching for summer opportunities, something finally gained traction.  I was in the middle of lecture when this message popped up on my phone from my Dad, so I quickly tuned out the prof and cranked out a cover letter.  This was my chance.  One of my Dad’s old contacts at Siemens was about to meet with a Smart Grid executive and I had just under an hour to impress.

Somehow a week later I found myself on the phone with Siemens managers in Minneapolis.  And then a couple of days after that with an internship.  It happened so fast and when I finally stopped to think, I found out that I had no idea what I just had gotten myself into.

Twin Cities

School ended with a characteristically sucky finals week.  Probably one of the few bad things about college.  Whatever.  After I got home, I had less than two weeks before I had to start my internship.  I packed it with as much time with friends as I could, then had to say goodbye to my family and friends… and my cats.  Man, I miss my cats.

I ended up in an apartment on the edge of the campus of the University of Minnesota.  Right next to their stadium and most importantly, right next to a Starbucks.  I’m also like a 1/2 mile away from the Mississippi.  There are some pretty nice views of the city across the river.  Unfortunately, I missed the snow, which would have made for some great pictures.  Apparently, people up here don’t like the snow as much as us southerners do.

Over the course of the six weeks I’ve been here, I’ve had plenty of time to explore.  There are sweet trails all along the Mississippi and a ton of things to do in the city.  Also, since the only grocery store I recognize is Whole Foods, I’ve been eating awesome, organic, healthy, natural, good-to-the-core food.  It’s been fantastic.

Halfway There

So… the internship.  On paper, I’m interning for the VP of Strategy for the Smart Grid Division.  He’s a ton of fun to work with and an incredible visionary.  In a nutshell, I’m working with him on what the integration of renewable technologies will look like on the grid, especially for utility operators.  ‘Smart Grid’ is sorta an umbrella term for bringing the electric grid into the 21st century and with the increasing importance of renewables, it’s a really exciting time for the industry.

Siemens

Siemens

Along with Ken, I’ve been working with one of the chief architects for Siemens’ Energy Management Systems.  Basically, utility operators rely on relatively static applications to manage the grid.  However, with the increase of blackouts and the integration of variable energy sources (renewables), there is a significant value in integrating applications that can dynamically track the grid.  We’ve been working on connecting Siemens’ primary static application with one of its dynamic ones.  My explanation is super vague and probably doesn’t make sense, so let’s move on to one of my highlights from the summer so far….

Madeline Visits!

With my twin brother and sister heading off to college this Fall, my parents thought it would be a good idea to fly them up to visit for a weekend.  My sister was the first to come.  To say that our weekend was fantastic would be an understatement.

As you can imagine, we started off our first full day together at the Mall of America.  It’s so big it has its own zipcode.  Go America.  The whole middle of the Mall is full of roller-coasters and other Nickelodeon themed rides.  We hopped on a teenage mutant ninja turtle ride and of course, the Spongebob roller-coaster – Rock Bottom Plunge!  Both were a blast.  We also had time to catch a movie on the fourth level movie theatre.  Man of Steel. 3D. Motion Seats.  That’s all I’ll say about that.  Best movie experience ever.

Mall Of America

Mall Of America

Although we had a late start to the weekend (Madeline flew in on Saturday), we squeezed in time along the Mississippi, a Fitz and the Tantrums Concert, a service at Eagle Brook Church, and a couple of touristy spots.

Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls

On Monday, I went to work for a half-day, then we went to Minnehaha Falls (sweet urban waterfall), and finally made our way downtown for the Zion tour with Hillsong United.  I won’t reveal my secret, but we got to meet the band backstage before the show.  Everyone from the amazing singer of Oceans to JD to Joel Houston.  Snap-chatting with Joel pretty much made my summer.

Joel!

Joel!

The show was sick.  We you combine epic worship with world-class staging and lighting, it’s hard to not produce a night that people won’t forget.  Here’s a short clip from the night and the previous night with Fitz.

Madeline flew out Tuesday morning and I was effectively pooped for the rest of the week from our weekend adventures.  I loved every second of it though.

The Local Church

The local church is where it’s at.  It’s been incredible how my life has changed since deciding to invest in the local church.  At Eagle Brook, I’ve gotten plugged in at the Spring Lake Park campus (it’s a multi-site church).  The building that we are in is so sweet.

Backstage at EBC

Backstage at EBC

It’s an old baptist church tricked out with hazers, floodlights, state-of-the-art sound system, and a custom built backdrop.  Every other weekend or so, I’ve been operating one of the cameras for the service.  During worship, we project onto two side screens and I’m one of the three manned cameras under a technical director that’s directing from a back room.  I love serving in production.  We also get fed.  Bonus.

Running a Camera

Running a Camera

Coming Up

I’ve got about six more weeks left for my internship and am excited to see what I’ll be working on next.  This internship has been an incredible blessing.  I’m also getting ready for my brother to come up for July 4th!  We’re going to celebrate like true Americans and watch the Yankees play the Twins at the beautiful Target Field.  Can’t wait!

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