Prior to the Covid pandemic, the construction business was booming. Like other industries, the epidemic has had a negative impact on workforce and supply chain issues. Infrastructure projects rely on public funding and the economic health of the nation. The Civil Quarterly, published by Dodge Data & Analytics, states the Commercial Construction Index, that gauges the strength of the industry, plummeted from 74 to 55 between the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2020. Times like this, when furloughs and layoffs occur, call for ingenuity and persistence.

Daniel Otten possesses those very qualities. He began his career doing foundation, plumbing, and masonry work, then pursued electrical technology at Lincoln Tech in Indiana. Daniel joined the Navy in 2012, serving until 2016. As an aviation structural mechanic 3rd class, he worked on the MH-60 Sierra Helicopter and served on three aircraft carriers during training maneuvers.

Daniel utilized the G.I. Bill to attend Ranken. “Ranken has given me the opportunity to tune the skills I learned growing up to be successful in my trade. My favorite memory was the last day of school, sitting there on the front porch of the house we had just finished, looking back at all the little tasks we had completed to make our house a home for the family that now lives there,” he says.

After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Ranken’s Carpentry and Building Construction Technology program in 2019, and Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Applied Management in 2020, Daniel worked as an apprentice for a local union. Carpentry instructor John Davis notes “He was a great student and person . . . [Daniel] was one of the most reliable, dependable students that I have ever had.” A few months into the pandemic, Daniel took another path. He is now a chemical operator and subject matter expert for Afton Chemicals where he controls part of the plant that makes an engine oil additive.

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