Korder Cropsey knew he wanted to be an engineer before he knew the name for it.
“I grew up near Presho, on a ranch, and so my Dad took me to work every day when I was young,” said Korder, who joins TSP as a structural engineer-in-training in Rapid City. “He’d be the first one to tell you I ask way too many questions. I remember one time we were packing sileage. We were in the tractor and he finally said, ‘I’m going to drop you off at the house.’ ”
It’s a laughable family moment, but it speaks to Korder’s innate curiosity about even the things he grew up around—agricultural machinery, implement equipment, and the reasons behind daily work processes.
“I wanted to figure out how everything worked,” he said. “Why does it do this when you do that? What if you tried something else instead? Then what would happen?”
Korder put that persistence to good use at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, where he ran track and played football for four years. He also was involved with SD Mines’ two engineering societies, serving as the marshal for Chi Epsilon—the civil-engineering honor society. He’ll graduate in May 2021 with a master’s degree in civil engineering (structural focus).
As an undergrad, Korder first studied metallurgical engineering. He changed his program after seeing some assignments his structural-engineering friends got to work on. He went to the registrar’s office and switched his major within days.
Korder is just as certain he’s found the right fit with TSP. He saw the opportunity on a job-positing site, then called TSP directly to learn more. A Zoom interview with Structural Engineer Alex Weiers sealed the deal from Korder’s perspective.
“Alex just told me, ‘You know, we’re never working on the same thing. There’s such a variety of things we do,’ ” Korder said. “He described some of the projects he’s been working on, and I thought it was a very interesting mix. Learning what he does on a daily basis, I just hope I can have that kind of range.”