Transcript: “Story of Young Engineer, Lexington Graduate – Jerrod Kiser” – S2 E5


There are an increasing number of interesting stories of individuals who have moved to Richland County or grew up in Richland County, moved away and then returned. The next episode of Workforce Pulse features the story of Jarrod Kiser, a young engineer and Lexington grad who moved away and has recently returned. Cling Knight discovers the home town assets that drew Jared back on the podcast.


SPEAKER 1: There are an increasing number of interesting stories of individuals who have moved to Richland County or grew up in Richland County, moved away and then returned. The next episode of Workforce Pulse features the story of a young engineer and Lexington graduate, Jerrod Kiser, who recently sat down in studio with Clint Knight. 

CLINT: Thanks for joining us again on the Workforce Pulse Podcast, where in this episode and series we’re sharing stories of members of our regional and local workforce who may have relocated here for work or family, or may have moved away because they graduated school and went off to college to learn a specific skill and found themselves back in the area for whatever reason and are telling and sharing their stories about their work and their family lives and their social experience, and what it was like to come into our community or come back to their community which they grew up in.  

That’s what we’re going to focus on again here in Episode 5, is we have a young man who actually moved away for college for a couple of years, and he’s going to share his story with us about how he found himself back a little earlier than expected, back in Richland County, and found himself in an internship opportunity.  

He was away at college for a while looking to be an engineer and then it didn’t work out, came back home and found himself back on campus here at one of the universities right here in our community, pursuing the same degree that he set out to pursue away from home and came back and was able to find a career opportunity that would allow him to work as an intern primarily and it gradually became full time. He was also able to continue his education right here in Richland County.  

Those are the stories we’re trying to share here in the Workforce Pulse Podcast Season 2, what the opportunities are for you or someone that you know here in Richland County when it comes to workforce, education, and just being part of the community, so we hope that you will take the time to listen to Jerrod Kiser’s story here over the next 10 to 12 minutes and learn what it’s like to have an opportunity to come back home and do the work that you’re interested in doing and enhance your education and grow in our community. So, without further ado, here’s our conversation with Jerrod Kiser on the Workforce Pulse Podcast 

CLINT: On this episode, we have Jerrod Kiser here. Jerrod, we appreciate you joining us. Jerrod is a young engineer here in Richland County who moved away for a little while and has come back. So, Jerrod, let’s talk first about your story. You are a graduate of Lexington High School, right? 

JERROD: Yes, graduate of Lexington High School, lived here all of my life. 

CLINT: You lived in Lexington all your life and graduated Lexington High School and then set out to go to Ohio State, like thousands of other young people here in Ohio and actually, you know, went to Ohio State, went to Columbus and started. What was your degree path that you started on? 

JERROD: When I went down to Ohio State, Columbus, I originally started on computer engineering out there. 

CLINT: Was that something that you discovered in high school or what led you to that path? 

JERROD: I would say that it was something, of course, most high schoolers are still a little bit of unsure of what they want to do, so computers and technology was something I was very interested in and a hobby in high school. I also have an uncle who is an electrical/software engineer and through talking to him and job shadowing him a little bit, I decided that that was something I wanted to start studying and see where it took me. 

CLINT: So, one of the things that I’m asking all of the people that I interview for this season, all the people who grew up in Richland County anyway, is when you graduated high school, did you ever have any intentions of coming back to Richland County? 

JERROD: I would say so. I wasn’t just going to Columbus to just pack up and leave forever. It was more so the circumstances of where that computer engineering major was available and Columbus happened to be one of the better engineering schools in the state and in the country. It was very close to home, so I was really choosing it to stay closer to home than maybe going somewhere else. 

CLINT: Which a lot of people do, you know, we have a lot of high school graduates who don’t want to get that far away. They’re going out for necessity to get the education and then potentially come right back. There’s a lot of young people though that graduate and with the mindset I’m never going back, I’m going somewhere else. I’m going to land elsewhere. When you were in high school, what type of workplace did you see yourself working in? Was it in, you know, information technology? Was it in design? 

JERROD: When I was in high school, I was wanting to be more on the hardware design sort of thing, so more computer engineering and electrical engineering, I would say. More than just sitting and programming or being a software engineer.  


JERROD: So, I was more interested in doing something hands on, but would also require I mean a lot of office time too. 

CLINT: Had you thought much about where you would do that? If it was back home, if it was in Lexington or Mansfield or in this region at all, had you thought about is there a company there, is there a job there where I could do that type of work? 

JERROD: I hadn’t really thought about that much in Lexington. I didn’t really think of Richland County as a big computer software developing area.  

CLINT: Ok. So that’s what you set out on, right? And you went to Ohio State for a little while. You ended up coming back to town out of necessity and you were able to continue your education, right, with Ohio State, but at the Mansfield Campus? 

JERROD: Uh, yeah. So, when I came back after leaving OSU, Columbus, that was actually just the time when the Mansfield Campus added their engineering degree. So, I thought that was perfect, because by the time I left Columbus, I wasn’t too sure on computer engineering anymore. But with the engineering technology degree out at the campus, just being in it for right now, it’s given me a good overview of mechanical and some electrical things that I find really interesting. 

CLINT: So, you left the main campus, came back, a little bit of a major change of course study, right? Still engineering, but you went into more of a mechanical side? 


CLINT: Ok. When you came back to town, you were also looking to work. 

JERROD: Uh, yes. So when I came back to town, it was still the semester before the new engineering program would start, so I did end up finding work in town with Park National Bank. 

CLINT: So, you did banking there for a little while out of necessity, right? But you kept looking, kept looking for something in the field that you were interested in? 

JERROD: Yeah, I was actually looking all that summer for some sort of engineering position to maybe get some more experience, which there were a lot of places in the area and it was just hard to find someone wanting to accept me in an engineering position just because I had so little schooling. I’d only had a year of schooling at that point. 

CLINT: Right. You were kind of looking for a co-op or an internship type position.  

JERROD: Yeah, something around there. 

CLINT: And you had only been in for about a year. But you kept trying.  


CLINT: I know. I saw your resume. Your resume was on, which is our regional job site. Tell us about what happened, how you were able to get into some work there. 

JERROD: So, after that summer I started the new engineering program out at Mansfield and through a year of class at Mansfield. The next summer I again started searching for engineering positions, engineering internships for the summer, and I had been offered a few of them, but they were just a little bit, I’d say more inconvenient for me for personal reasons. So, I didn’t end up taking an internship in the summer of 2021, but I was offered a few of them. 

CLINT: So, you were able to get out and talk to employers about the fact that I’m going to school here, I’m pursuing an engineering degree, but I want to work, and you had some opportunity there. So, tell us about where you landed. You’re working now full time at the moment before you go back to school. 

JERROD: So, this spring and summer, I’ve been working at Michael Byrne Manufacturing in an engineering intern position. I was able to find them through the Chamber, just getting my resume out there and making connections. I ended up accepting a position there, and I’ve been really liking it so far. It’s a pretty small company that makes underground tunneling and boring equipment. And there’s only a handful of engineers, two or three engineers there, so I’m sort of under a few different people and getting a mix of work, engineering work that I enjoy. 

CLINT: A year ago, did you have any idea that there was a company in Richland County that made the type of equipment that you’re actually helping to design and make right now? 

JERROD: I did not. I didn’t know that such a company existed in Richland County, right here, that made that sort of underground tunneling equipment. Actually, even though we’re a small company, we do send machines all over the world, whether it’s up to Canada, I believe we’ve sent equipment to Israel, as well. 


JERROD: And overseas. 

CLINT: What are they boring for? What are the machines used?  

JERROD: Just tunneling equipment. So, if you need, like I know a big project that a contractor accepted using our machines was the new airport in North Carolina. They needed new water lines, new sewage lines, all sorts of things like that. You can’t put them above ground. You have to dig long tunnels in order to put those pipes into the ground.  

CLINT: Right.  

JERROD: So, it’s more of that sort of work. 

CLINT: I’ve had the opportunity to see some of these machines, and I mean, I had no idea myself, Michael Byrne Manufacturing was here, but that some fascinating stuff, what they’re able to do, how the process actually works. And I, I would venture to say that there are a lot of people who have no idea. That’s just one of the things, one of the things that we make here in Richland County, there’s a lot of other things that are that are being made, too, it’s pretty fascinating.  

So, what would you say to a young person or another person who’s in your situation, right? Who’s going out to get some education? Who’s thinking about coming back to Richland County. What is your perception or how do you feel about being back here right now? Do you feel like there’s opportunity for you? 

JERROD: Definitely. I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity in Richland County, just from being back here and especially working out at the airport now, just driving past all the different businesses around. Being that we manufacture our own machines from the ground up and maybe we don’t have the capability to make a certain part. A lot of the places, a lot of the machine shops and engineering shops will just send it to somewhere else in Richland County and get a part made. So, there’s definitely a lot of different opportunity here in Richland. There’s a lot of stuff going on. 

CLINT: Yes, you got that business collaboration that’s going on. Do you think you’ll stick around for a while or do you know?  

JERROD: It’s just wherever I think an opportunity would present itself once I graduate. I’m definitely not opposed to moving away, like I said. There is a lot of opportunity here and it’s a familiar place.  

CLINT: And you got your family here. Is there anything to do in Richland County?  

JERROD: Yeah, I’m more of an outdoorsy type of guy, so I like fishing around all of our lakes, Clearfork and Charles Mill and Pleasant Hill. 

CLINT: So, you’ve been able to find places to entertain yourself?  

JERROD: Yeah. 

CLINT: Cool. And you grew up here? So, you know about all of stuff as well. Good deal.  

Well Jerrod, I appreciate you coming on the Workforce podcast this week and telling us a little bit about your story. Best of luck to you. I hope that this career will be fruitful here for you in Richland County. If not, we hope it works out for you wherever you land in the long run.  

JERROD: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me. 

CLINT: I want to say thank you to Jerrod for being willing to come into a recording studio and share his story and share his experience with Michael Byrne Manufacturing, the current company that he’s been working with and I appreciate Michael Byrne and all the other employers in Richland County that are giving the opportunity to young people to come in and work in their workplaces and do some discovery about what it is that they’re looking to do.  

If you’re interested in hosting interns or creating an internship, and it’s something that you haven’t done before and you’re a business here in Richland County, please feel free to reach out to me at the Richland Area Chamber, and I could talk to you about how to stand that up, where to go, what education partners can help you with that, and you can reach out to me at the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development (  

For all of you listening that are parents, please encourage your young people to find opportunities in the county or in the region and look for what it is exactly that they want to do. We share responsibility to help them determine what it is that they don’t want to do just as much as we do want to help them learn what to do, and the best place to do that is in the workplace and getting their hands dirty a little bit and seeing what it’s all about. 

So, thank you for joining us on the Workforce Pulse Podcast here, and we will see you in the next coming weeks with Episode 6. 

SPEAKER 1: Join Director of Workforce Development, Clint Knight, for a new episode of Workforce Pulse focusing on workforce development in Richland County and how it relates to the state and surrounding region. Available now. Listen on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts.