Published December 2017
Ahtna Intern Aaron Charles Miller is the son of Jim and Charlene Miller and the grandson of Charles and Delia Renard. He grew up in Glennallen, Alaska and is in his junior year in the Construction Management Bachelors of Science program at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Like many college students, he changed his degree after his freshmen year. He wanted to make sure he was equipping himself with valuable skills that would last a lifetime and ultimately chose a degree that best fit with his people-oriented personality. He hopes to be able to stay with Ahtna long-term and to grow with the company as it evolves.
What made you want to intern with Ahtna and what excites you about the internship?
Ahtna is known for taking care of their people and my field of study in college was similar to the work being done by Ahtna Environmental and Ahtna Engineering.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
My internship consists of assisting project managers in all steps of a construction project. One day I could be writing a report or safety plan and the next day I could be sent out into the field to learn how a certain type of project is carried out. My favorite part of the job is working and communicating with sub-contractors and other personnel. It is rewarding when you establish an effective relationship with a company or an individual.
In what ways would you like to create value as an intern?
Taking tasks or projects from supervisors and coworkers and completing them to the best of my ability. I believe if you want to be considered valuable then you have to put yourself in that place by taking responsibilities and following through with them until the end.
What role has Ahtna played in your educational pursuits?
Ahtna has given me the opportunity to work part time while I am attending college. This has been essential in my pursuit of education and experience.
Who has been an inspiration to you in your educational and/or career pursuits?
Many people have been very supportive, however, there are two that stand out. Michelle Anderson has definitely been someone who stands out. It is nice to see a shareholder that is professional and driven. The other person that stands out to me is Tim Gould. Tim has been very involved and yet provides liberties for Ahtna employees that enable them to grow.
What advice do you have for Ahtna youth?
Often I find myself realizing that what I want right now will hinder my opportunities for the future. As humans it is in our nature to pursue what is in the present moment. When in reality, what is actually in our best interest is often something we have to wait or work for. So maybe try and put down your phone, controller, or whatever it might be and start planning for the future. What will make you the best possible version of yourself? Often this takes postponing what is fun. Avoid instant gratification and exchange it for a bigger plan.
What have been defining moments in your educational/career path and what have you learned along the way?
In my previous job I was challenged every day with a problem that I did not have the answer to. This forced me to find solutions and use resources efficiently. Essentially, I was in a place that forced me to acquire problem solving skills. This has been most valuable, not only at work and in school, but in my personal life as well.
What motivates you?
This is a very deep question that leads to the core of a person’s existence. A large portion of motivation is fueled by desire, but desires come and go with each day. I need something more consistent than that. I look to the future and ask questions such as: where will I be in 10 or 20 years, how do I want to spend my life, what can I find hope in? The answers to these questions are what motivate me.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy playing the guitar and basketball. I really enjoy experiencing the outdoors whether it is hiking, hunting, fishing or camping.