News & Events

Dangel Hits the Lottery at Mitchell Tech

A chance encounter in the Campus Store the week before his first semester of college changed Brian Dangel’s (’17) entire Mitchell Tech experience.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” the Hurley, S.D., native said. “I went to buy my books and tools for my first semester, and as I was getting ready to check out, my buddy overheard (staff) talking about how an (Electrical Construction and Maintenance) kid had to drop out of a scholarship.

My buddy said, ‘Well, he’ll take it,’ and I agreed that I’d take any scholarship I could get.”

Vice President of Enrollment Clayton Deuter, who oversees the Build Dakota Scholarship program, was one of the staff involved in that conversation.

“It just so happened that I’d had a student change their mind, and that Brian could use some help with his schooling,” Deuter said, so he returned to his office to review Dangel’s application, which hadn’t made the first round of selections.

Five minutes later, “Clayton pulled me into his office and said I was getting the Build Dakota Scholarship,” Dangel said. “That changed everything.”

Having learned in May that he had not been approved in the first round of applications, Dangel considered forgoing his education and instead entering the electrical workforce directly, but he decided to put in extra work ahead of time to make college happen.

“I worked all summer to save up the money to pay for my books and tools the day before classes started. I had a plan to pay for school using loans and some savings, and I planned to work 40 hours a week during school” and only purchase the minimum tools required.

Because the scholarship would pay for all of his educational expenses – including tuition, books and tools – Dangel was able to instead focus on his studies and purchase the full ECM toolkit that would give him the greatest chance of success.

“It would have been very tight, and a lot of time would have been spent working instead of worrying about school,” he said. “I could focus on school and work whatever I wanted to do and didn’t have to work a lot of hours. I could take the weekends off and continue to do the things that I liked to do back home for fun,” he said.

Following his graduation in 2017, Dangel returned to his hometown full-time and went to work for Electrical Construction in Sioux Falls, S.D., as an apprentice. He has since been promoted to journeyman and now foreman and continues to volunteer in his community as an EMT and firefighter, as well as with the youth programs that he enjoyed growing up.

Looking back, Dangel said he is grateful that he decided to stick with his plan to go to college, despite the extra commitment it took following his high school graduation. He advises aspiring electricians to do the same.

“In my career field … there are more foremen who went to college than who didn’t … and I would say they are some of our better job runners. You look at the people ahead of you who went through that process, and they’re probably more successful,” he said. “You learn too much to skip (college). You learn how to read a code book. You get to practice things that you wouldn’t get to practice in the field without feeling bad if you mess up. (The instructors) slow down and take the time to explain things to you in detail, and you understand the whole picture when you leave there.”

Dangel said Mitchell Tech instructors are genuinely invested in their students’ futures.

“They want everybody to pass, so they’re never afraid to stay late or get you help after class if you need it. They don’t want to make anybody’s life difficult, and they want nothing but the best for you, your future and your career.”

Overall, Dangel said Mitchell Tech and Build Dakota were a priceless opportunity that he is grateful to have taken.


“I just hit the lottery. That’s the feeling. It’s like hitting the lottery machine and it going, ‘Ting!’”


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