I met (by phone) Patrick Krekelberg when we were looking at the ROI of public investment in broadband. As I recall, he wanted to move to an area that was as remote as possible, yet still online. He landed in Two Harbors. He had just moved to the area when we spoke to him. He ran a business and home-schooled a few kids thanks to fiber.
At a wooded homestead 10 miles north of Two Harbors, a morning jam session is underway. The man on guitar is Patrick Krekelberg, the CEO of two product and app development companies, Audiofile and Krekeltronics, which he runs out of the second floor loft above his garage. If it wasn’t for the fiber network put in by the county, Krekelberg wouldn’t have the high-speed internet access he needs to run his wilderness-based startups, let alone bring on interns to help him.
One of those interns is Rachael Platt, a senior studying computer information systems and music at the College of St. Scholastica. Platt’s putting both her major and minor to use by assisting Krekelberg with quality assurance (QA) testing, website reformation and mobile development for a music app.
Turns out the intern makes good use of broadband as well…
Platt has spent most of her internship working remotely, which has allowed her to hone her project and time management skills as well as what’s she learning in software development. Managing both is a balancing act that requires communication and independence.
It was nice to hear that Krekelberg had received some small business support as well…
While Platt is receiving hands-on industry experience in the outdoor setting that she loves, Krekelberg is getting the product development assistance that he needs as well. All this is made easier with additional entrepreneurial support through SciTechsperience, a state-funded internship program that helps startups and small businesses find and hire interns by reimbursing the employer for half their wages, up to $2,500 per student.
“The wage reimbursement is essential to the level of quality internships that we’re able to provide,” Krekelberg said, “It’s allowed us to equip Rachael with the mission critical equipment that she needs.”