The Grulkowski brothers had similar beginnings in the workforce, but their interests led them down different career paths. Alex, whose interests are problem-solving, design and engineering, graduated in packaging.
Andrew has always been interested in electronic devices. “What better opportunity than to learn how they work behind the scenes,” he said. He graduated in computer and electrical engineering, with minors in computer science and mathematics.
Hired before graduation
Both brothers are ambitious, Laurie said, having worked as young teens at a neighboring farm and as shop technicians at Jurowski Construction Inc., where their father, Dale, works.
Alex started at Ashley Furniture in high school, in the research and development department, testing furniture for stability prior to going on the market. After his first year at Ashley, Alex was able to pick his R&D partner. He chose his brother, and Andrew was hired.
Alex later moved on to Ashley’s packaging department, where he was able to complete his internship during summer and winter breaks. “I learned the processes of package design and testing, and standard operating procedures for packaging,” he said. “By the end of my internship, I was doing almost everything that I am currently doing as a packaging engineer.”
Andrew completed his internship at HPE last summer. He was on the Mission Critical/Product Issue Resolution team, working with customers to resolve technical issues. “I was able to gain some essential real-world experience in the field that I could translate to any related career path,” he said.
“We had never done any of this work prior, but we dove in and made it happen,” Andrew said. “We did all of the mechanical, body and paintwork ourselves in our parents’ garage. It took almost six years to complete.”
“The collaboration of our family to finish this project is what makes the truck special,” Alex added.
Like their dive into the restoration project, going to college was also a first for Alex’s and Andrew’s family. Their grandfather left school after eighth grade, and their great-grandfather only finished to second grade. Laurie, who is a licensed practical nurse at Trempealeau County Healthcare Center, was the first in their family to pursue higher education and graduated from three junior colleges.
“Alex and Andrew are outstanding young men who are going out into the world as problem-solvers,” she said. “Living proof family cycles can change for the better.”