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From running his own business, to raising his two boys to hosting exchange students, Matt Prahm, a fourth-generation bridge-builder and the owner of Prahm Construction in Slayton, Minnesota keeps himself busy.
“I love this work and I like being on the job site,” says Prahm. He has been immersed in the industry his entire life: his great-grandfather, grandfather and father all built bridges for a living. Prahm’s father, Roger, is one of his crew supervisors.
Prahm says that owning his own bridge construction business is a dream come true -- a dream that he says was made possible by an amazing crew and office staff.
His business involves four crews and two office staff that include his family. Prahm’s wife, Bridget works in the office, and his brother, dad and cousin help on the crews. Prahm’s sons, 10-year-old Van and eight-year-old Max are also involved in the business. “The boys like to come out here to the work site” says Prahm. Van is learning the ropes and how to operate the equipment, which includes a Kubota track loader, excavators and cranes.
Prahm started using Kubota equipment in 2013 with a Kubota SVL75 and has since equipped his crews with more Kubota SVL75 track loaders. The Kubota SVL75 is a durable 75 horsepower track loader that features a large cab that measures 36 inches from side-to-side, and a slide-up door. The durability and comfort is necessary for Prahm who has four crews that work year-round on projects in southwest Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota.
Prahm says his most memorable project was renovating a bridge under live rail. “We would get notified every time a train came and would have to stop work until it passed,” Prahm says. His projects range from steel, concrete and wood and his work includes bidding on projects, moving equipment and renovation.
When the Prahm’s aren’t running their family business, they’re sharing their home with foreign exchange students. “My wife heard about the opportunity a few years to host and thought it would be a good opportunity for our kids,” says Prahm. Since then, the Prahms have hosted students each year from different countries. The students live with the Prahms, celebrate holidays with them and go to the local school to learn about the country and culture.
The Prahms continue to stay in contact with past exchange students who also come back to visit—and sometimes bring their families. The Prahms see this as an opportunity to build another bridge. A bridge that connects Southwest Minnesota to the rest of the world.