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OPINION: Working for same company works for the Cundys

Nick and Dezarae Cundy

Palace City Profiles is an ongoing series of community members' stories, introducing us to our neighbors and the individuals who live and/or work in Mitchell. If you have suggestions for individuals or families with a great story, please contact Lori Essig at lessig@mitchellsd.org.

Working for the same company is nothing new to Nick and Dezarae Cundy. In fact, it was thanks to their first work experience together that they met and eventually married.

Dezarae worked at Culver's for eight years, through school at Mitchell High School and full time while she was in college at Dakota Wesleyan University. Nick worked there for three years.

"We became really close friends after working together. This was the start of our love story," Dezarae said.

The ending is happy. They even had a few engagement photos taken at Culver's to commemorate their time there.

Now, they both are employed at Muth Electric in Mitchell. Nick is a registered apprentice electrician, and Dezarae works in human resources.

As a high school student, Nick wasn't sure what his post graduation plans would be. He attended an Exploration Day at Mitchell Technical Institute and decided that the electrical construction and maintenance program would be a good fit for him.

He found success as a student and twice went to the national SkillsUSA competition representing South Dakota. As one of only 28 competitors, his 10th and sixth-place finishes were solid performances.

As a registered apprentice, Nick must put in 8,000 hands-on hours to become a journeyman electrician. While he was a student at MTI, he earned 2,000 of those hours, and now he is continuing to log hours with Muth. He participates in monthly educational sessions, plus hours on the job supervised by a journeyman. He appreciates the pay raises that come with achieving landmarks along the way, and he is on track to become a journeyman sometime this spring.

"Sometimes I have to pour concrete, or be a carpenter or even a mason," Nick said. "I like the hands-on work."

Dezarae is also a graduate of MHS. Though she started her college education away from home, she transferred to Dakota Wesleyan University because she wanted to be in Mitchell.

"In high school, you can't wait to leave," she said. "But once I left, I found myself wanting to return to Mitchell and attend DWU, where you were not just a number in a very large class setting."

Dezarae said she was not a people person in high school. In fact, she even chose to take speech class online.

"But I gained confidence at DWU," she said, "and I learned to adapt to change."

Now, she is working in the human resources department at Muth.

"This is a good company to work for," she said. "I have a chance to grow in my profession and utilize my college degree."

Dezarae has had to learn electrical terminology, and Nick is a great resource. She said she is surprised at the variety of skills he has had to know in his day-to-day work.

As the Cundys approach their first wedding anniversary, they find themselves settling into Mitchell for the long haul. They made their first big investment with the purchase of a new home. They have since added to their family with their puppy, Lilly. She keeps them on their toes, but has been a great addition.

"As a couple, we are both avid Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Wild fans. We enjoy attending various sporting events, going to country music concerts and are huge reality TV buffs," said Dezarae. "Family time is extremely important to us. We very much appreciate that both of our families live in Mitchell and the surrounding areas. A few games of corn hole, watching football and hockey, having game nights and family suppers are the highlights of our weekends."

She added that living and investing in their hometown of Mitchell is a value the couple shares.

"And it's a bonus that you can get anywhere in town in 10 minutes," Nick said, jokingly.

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