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home : news : news July 27, 2016

6/5/2014 8:55:00 PM
Life after Graduation: David Lindahl

by Ken Haggerty

David Hartley Lindahl, Cannon Falls High School Class of 2006 graduate, is now living in St. Paul, working as a Project Engineer for Evaporator Dryer Technologies, Inc.

Evaporator Dryer Tech specializes in the custom design of dehydration technologies, mainly spray dryers and evaporators.

This technology is used in the chemical, wastewater, pharmaceutical, and food industries, among others.

David's current position involves the management, design, and implementation of capital projects that focus primarily on the dairy industry. The majority of his projects stem from the processing of a by-product of the cheese-making process, which is called whey.

Whey can be refined to produce such things as whey protein, which many people may recognize as a main ingredient in bodybuilding supplements. Some examples of other products the equipment produces are lactose powder, skim and whole milk powders, flavor powders, starch, and powdered baby food formulas.

They also do work throughout the country providing engineering assistance to companies looking to expand current production with minimal changes and small capital investment. These services have been very desirable in the past decade with the state of the economy, said Lindahl.

Currently, he is working on a baby food formula pilot research spray dryer, located in Singapore, three planes and 30 hours of travel to the Asian country. Working in Singapore has supplied some interesting challenges like figuring out how to use public transportation (very expensive to own a car) and learning how to safely cross the street since the traffic travels on the left hand side, he says.

Singapore's culture is a mix of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and British cultures. He says this creates many great restaurants, entertainment and cultural experiences. As a major international port city and with a large influx of trade in the region, Singapore has been expanding rapidly, he says. Lindahl calls it a great place to see highrises, beautiful modern architecture and vast arboretums.

David is the son of Bruce and Donna Lindahl (retiring Randolph teacher), who just moved from Cannon Falls to Farmington. Grandparents are Kermit (deceased) and Elaine Lindahl of Cannon Falls. Elaine currently resides at Twin Rivers Senior Campus. Also, Donald and Marlene Hartley, previously of Cannon Falls, currently residing near Waukon, IA.

He says his dad and grandpa Kermit influenced him mechanically. My father and my grandfather Kermit have always been mechanically inclined which I think is where it all started. I just knew I enjoyed taking things apart and understanding how things worked, so I decided to try my hand at Mechanical Engineering, and it stuck.

Kermit lived his whole life around Cannon Falls. He was a hobby farmer, worked in maintenance at Mineral Springs Sanatorium and then the Cannon Falls Community Hospital. In retirement, he worked part-time at Gemini.

Bruce graduated from UW-Stout with a BS in Industrial Technology and worked as a Product Engineer for many years in the printed circuit industry. He is now in business development in the same industry working for Molex Incorporated.

While growing up in the Woodland Hills neighborhood (off Oxford Mill Rd.) the kids would bring David broken bikes, toys, radios, remote controls, etc. to fix, his mom recalls. "He spent many hours at the basement workbench doing repairs for friends!"

Lone sibling Eric Lindahl attended Hamline University and will be graduating in May 2014. "He continues to be book smarter than I am, and he has not made final career decisions,"said David. "However, he likely will continue his education and take a path in the medical field relating to public health."

A great memory David recalls from Cannon Falls High School was witnessing his Science teacher, Todd Thompson, activate the fire alarm at the high school while demonstrating the unique pyrotechnic abilities of alcohol. This all occurred while listening to "Burning Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash.

Another fond memory was time spent in the international exchange program to Vienna, Austria. "I made some lifelong friends through that program, and I am grateful to have been a part of it," he says.

"I spent my first four years tearing up the west side of Cannon Falls on my red tricycle, after which we moved to Michigan until I was 8. In Michigan I sported a Jeep Power Wheels (for those interested). Our family then moved back to Cannon Falls where I graduated high school. I was always proud to grow up in a small town where I think I learned the importance of community, honesty, and developed a kind of grittiness to be successful at whatever I put my mind to.

"I think a community like Cannon Falls builds one's character and personality in a special way. This town gives its young people such a great foundation for their careers and lives. I always felt driven to explore my passions and experience the world around me through international student programs at the high school, as well as church group mission trips at First Congregational UCC.

"These things would never have been possible without the support of the Cannon Falls community.

I would also like to credit my parents for always pushing me out of my comfort zone and convincing me I could always achieve more. They always supported my decisions and let me learn from my own mistakes."

After CFHS, David went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

"I think in many ways I achieved more than I expected I would, in terms of the amount of responsibility I have in my current position. I am the face of our company to our customers across the United States and around the world. I expected something much more humble for my first job, to be honest."

He started his path in food technology when he took an internship with the University of Minnesota's Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) in conjunction with ConAgra Foods in Hastings.

"I worked on energy efficiency at the flour mill people often drive by on Highway 61. It was challenging trying to be a young engineer and work closely with the veteran plant workers. It took time to gain respect of those around me. At the conclusion of the project I gave a presentation of my findings and recommendations to the University, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and ConAgra."

Lindahl says he always has enjoyed meeting new people and experiencing different cultures and has been fortunate with his experiences thus far.

I would encourage others to pursue this career because technical jobs are very much in demand in this economy. You can really do something that affects people's lives in a positive way.

He credits a College Professor, Alison Hoxie, PhD of Mechanical Engineering, for fortifying confidence and giving him more excitement about his career field and the possibilities it held. "She provided a spark of passion and devotion to her students learning. I completed a research project under her direction pertaining to solar thermal heat capture and its uses in relation to the Carnot Cycle, the process of converting thermal energy to work."

I haven't completely decided which direction I feel is the ultimate goal for me. I would say my future plan includes continuing to explore and identify the path that I most enjoy in this field and work to become the best I can be in that role.

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