SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s a record year of construction across South Dakota with both Rapid City and Sioux Falls already soaring past the records for building permit valuations, even before the end of the year.

But in order for all of that growth to happen, the state is in need of more workers. In tonight’s Eye on KELOLAND, why one construction management student at Southeast tech is gaining some national attention in the construction industry.

“The thing I like about construction is that it’s different every single day,” Southeast Tech construction management student Dylan Taylor said.

Taylor has loved operating machinery since he was a kid.

“I grew up around the construction industry,” Taylor said. I’d ride around with him in his backhoe, put pipe in the ground, cover it up.”

It’s why a career in construction was a natural fit for Taylor, even though the way he goes about his work is different than many others in the industry.

“I was born with a missing arm and missing leg,” Taylor said.

But his teachers say you’d never know it from the videos he posts on his Instagram page, 1 Armed Trades.

“He will record a video showing someone how to run a shovel with one arm, he’s wearing pants, they don’t realize he’s also driving that shovel with one leg,” Emily Olson, Student Success Advisor at Southeast Tech said.

His teachers and fellow students at Southeast Tech say Dylan’s go-getter attitude is an inspiration to everyone.

“I don’t think we’ve ever discussed his limitations, it was so apparent to me from the get-go that he was someone who was going to problem solve anything,” Olson said. 

“I’ll figure it out, adapt and overcome,” Taylor said.

It’s an outlook that’s been put to the test throughout his life.

“I was born in a third-world country called Moldova, it’s right by Ukraine,” Taylor said. “I was born there and immediately was put in an orphanage.”

But he would find out even that rough beginning was a blessing.

“My arm and my leg are my battle scars, I survived an abortion,” Taylor said. “I have a twin brother, I was told, but he didn’t survive the abortion, so that shows that God really had a plan for my life, that’s why I have such a positive outlook on life.”

It’s why Dylan has always looked at his life with gratitude and never with limitations.

“I honestly forget that I have a missing arm, missing leg just because I can basically do anything and everything that anyone else can,” Taylor said.

He’s always stuck to his adapt and overcome mentality…

“After being in the orphanage for two years, my first adoptive family adopted me,” Taylor said.

…even when life continued to throw him curveballs.

“When I was 13, that’s when my second adoption occurred,” Taylor said.

Dylan says his second adoption came when his first adoptive family was struggling with finances and addiction.

“By the grace of God, they knew they had to put me in a better household where I could play sports, have support for my leg,” Taylor said.

So at the age of 13, he got on a plane and flew from Chicago to Fargo, North Dakota, to meet his new family.

“I had to really grow up fast, being adopted twice, I was put in a family with just more structure, more rules. It was hard, but it was totally worth it. I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without that decision,” Taylor said.

The move allowed him to pursue one of his other passions too.

“The first team I played on was my baseball team back in North Dakota,” Taylor said.

Dylan loves sports and being active

“I wasn’t very strong with bat, I struck out almost every time,” Taylor said.

But he spent most of his teen years figuring out the right prosthetics to help him play.

“Couldn’t run or jump at all until halfway through my senior year, into the basketball season,” Taylor said.

And like everything in his life, Dylan didn’t let the challenge stop him.

“Giving up is the easiest thing in the world, everyone can do it in the snap of their fingers,” Taylor said. “It’s all a mental game, the more you remind yourself don’t give up, adapt and overcome, keep pushing, figure it out.”

Dylan hopes to spend his life sharing his drive to succeed with others. 

“This whole social media thing some people hate it. I’m not just sharing my videos for fun, I’m reaching a lot of people,” Taylor said.

For Dylan, it’s not about the number of people he’s reaching, but who he’s able to reach and connect with.

“Someone the other day messaged me on Instagram on my construction page. His foster kid has a missing arm and missing leg like mine as well, very identical. His kid said there’s someone out there like me. For my whole life, I’ve been waiting for that moment to be able to help someone out who has a missing limb in a very similar circumstance,” Taylor said.

A connection that continues to fuel his fire to succeed.

“He goes to another level, past driven, he’s initiative,” Olson said. 

“I’m very people passionate I want to help people. Even if I don’t know how to help them with a certain thing, maybe a few words of encouragement is what I can provide,” Taylor said.

Along with his goal of working his way up to president or vice president of a large construction company, Dylan says he also hopes to someday pursue motivational speaking.