Planting family trees at Daktronics

BROOKINGS – With nearly 3,000 employees worldwide, Daktronics provides a variety of opportunities for students, interns and people seeking long-term careers. With opportunities for many different age groups, Daktronics frequently employs family members across generations.

For three members of the Begalka family, this is especially true.

Jim, Mary and Jeff Begalka have each found careers at Daktronics in Brookings. In fact, Daktronics is where Jim and Mary first met, and they have been married for 26 years. Jim is a material handler in the Facilities department, and Mary works in inventory for High School Parks and Recreation (HSPR) Manufacturing.

Following his parents’ footsteps, Jeff has been at Daktronics for nearly two years. He began working at Daktronics through the former high school employment program spending a summer working in Electronic Assembly. He later returned to work full-time in HSPR Manufacturing.

The Begalkas all agree that the high school program was an excellent way for students to gain valuable experience.

“It’s a good program,” said Jim. “It helps them get started in life.”

Jim has been with Daktronics for 33 years. He enjoys the variety of his responsibilities and the chance to work outside. According to Mary, he’s like “the mailman” of Daktronics, running errands and delivering parts to various buildings.

Although he’s happy where he is, Jim appreciates how Daktronics helps employees find the job that’s right for them.

“With this company, there’s a lot of opportunity to do stuff if you want to,” Jim said. “Daktronics is great about working with you if you want to make a job switch.”

Jim, Mary and Jeff all agree that one of their favorite parts about working at Daktronics is the friendly and respectful atmosphere. They appreciate how all the departments work well together and make employees feel valued.

“The first month I was here, I had to tell them to tone it down because I wasn’t used to being treated so well,” Jeff said. “It almost put me in shock.”

For Mary, the atmosphere is so welcoming that her co-workers feel like a second family to her.

“Everybody ends up a family,” said Mary. “You go to work and have a family there.”

The Begalkas' story at Daktronics is far from over. Jeff’s daughter, Mackenzie, has an interest in graphic design and computer science that may one day lead her to a career at Daktronics.

As the Begalka family prepares for the next chapter in their lives, Daktronics will continue to plant family trees throughout generations.

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