Cole Crouch ’17 SBIF Cements Career Goals

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Jason Bridges ’98, Courtney Bridges (wife and business partner) of Nantucket Bike Tours with Wabash interns Cole Crouch ’17 and Michael Haffner ’16

Hello, from 30 miles out to sea!

My internship at Nantucket Bike Tours with Jason Bridges ’98, and his wife, Courtney, has been informative, active, and transformative. I am learning and developing a working knowledge about small business in the hospitality industry. I am building more professional relationships and social skills than I ever could’ve imagined. Some of the skills include developing self-awareness as it relates to others and my own attitude, values and behavior patterns (like smiling more). Additionally, I am always striving to succeed at daily or weekly goals and challenges.

Throughout the last month and a half, the day-to-day experiences working at NBT have taken the small business aspect of this internship to the brink. Everyday, Michael Haffner ‘16, Jason, Courtney, and I, the NBT team, lead at least two bike tours – a town view and tour out to Cisco Brewery. But aside from leading daily bike tours, Michael and I are constantly developing social media campaigns, networking door-to-door with our business cards/brochures, creating advertising strategies with hotels and other local businesses, learning QuickBooks, editing the website, and booking more bike tours! Together, the NBT team makes simple and complex decisions in areas such as marketing, pricing, website design, etc., around the dinner table, over delicious coffee at the Handlebar Café, or during an intense game of euchre.

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Crouch applies some Small Business elbow grease to the NBT equipment

Learning how to effectively compliment others, as well as understanding others’ motivations, interests and desires have been the single greatest lessons I’ve learned this summer. In his novel, How To Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie stated, “The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.” Every week, we are reading a new chapter in the novel and then applying Carnegie’s lessons to our everyday experiences.

Although I’m interning 861 miles away from Indianapolis, after just day 10 on the island, Nantucket began feeling like a second home. Ever since I arrived off the ferry, Jason and Courtney have fully immersed my fellow interns and I in the community and culture here on the island. Whether it is biking hundreds of miles around the island, running in a weekly community 5k run, attending the Maria Mitchell Red Tie Soirée Gala at Sankaty Head Golf Club, or volunteering on a Saturday evening at the Comedy Festival, we are continuously making our presence known as engaged community members and leaders.

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Crouch and Haffner with Courtney Bridges

Overall, this internship has challenged my goals and career ambitions in more ways than I ever imagined. My two dreams of owning my own business and becoming a lawyer have been even more cemented this summer. I will carry with me the experiences and lessons, as well as relationships and memories for a long time. I look forward to applying them in the future.

I would like to thank all of the alumni contributing to the Small Business Internship Fund. I am extremely thankful for my opportunity at Nantucket Bike Tours, which has been made entirely possible through the efforts of alumni at Wabash College.

Michael Haffner ’16 Takes “On” Nantucket

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Haffner ’16 with fellow Wabash intern Cole Crouch ’17

As I searched for internships this summer, I knew I wanted to do something unique that would have a lasting effect on my life.  I was longing for an internship experience where I truly had to “buy into” the business.  I wanted an experience where I felt like I could make a difference, learn lifelong lessons, and think on my feet.  My internship at Nantucket Bike Tours with Courtney and Jason Bridges ’98 has met and exceeded all of these expectations.

I have learned many things while leading bike tours around this beautiful island 30 miles out to sea.  The first lesson I learned was that, when running a small business, one must be “on” at all times.   Whether eating out at a restaurant, walking through town, or eating dinner at home while booking a bike tour for the next day, a small business owner must always be “on.”  In a tight-knit community like Nantucket, one must be smiling, friendly, and eager to seek conversation with others at all times!

Another valuable lesson I have learned thus far is to be involved in the community.  Whether volunteering at a local event, supporting a friend’s endeavor or even just showing up to town meetings, it is important to be involved.  Not only does this help create relationships you may not have had, but it also shows that you are a leader in your community.  We have been given the privilege of a Wabash education and in turn, we have an obligation to give back and lead when possible.

One of my goals for the summer was to become more comfortable and confident in social environments.  In addition to reading and analyzing Dale Carnegie’s How to Make Friends and Influence People, Courtney and Jason have put Cole Crouch ’17, Kazimir Koehring ’18, and myself in social settings where we need to interact with others.  We discuss the importance of body posture, eye contact, and confidence.  Being a naturally shy person, this was difficult for me at first.  However, after attending events such as the Maria Mitchell Gala, the Samuel Owen Art Gallery, and the Nantucket Comedy Festival, I have become more comfortable when seeking conversations and approaching others.

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Jason Bridges ’98 (center) with wife Courtney are hosting 3 Wabash interns through the Small Business Internship Fund in summer 2015. Haffner ’16, Crouch ’17, and Koehring ’18 are working in both of the Bridges’ businesses: Nantucket Bike Tours and The Handlebar Cafe, for a broad small business operations experience. Bridges have hosted many interns during their 4 years in the SBIF program.

In addition to these great lessons, I have improved my ability to think on my feet.  It is impossible to predict what will happen on a bike tour or where the day will take us.  When running a small business, one must be open to change and have a stable mindset when challenges arise.  Whether we’ve been picking up last minute bikes for a tour, fixing bikes, or scheduling last minute customers, I have learned to make quick, responsible decisions.

As a rising senior interested in a career in dentistry, I am grateful to be learning these lessons now.  Meeting different people on the bike tours each day, attending community events, and always being “on,” have given me a glimpse of the relationships, interactions, and insights that are all a part of running a successful small business.

I believe that my entire experience so far will enhance my ability to practice dentistry one day and will allow me to enjoy the relationships I build with my patients.  I am thankful that Wabash is able to provide great opportunities like this through the Small Business Internship Fund.  I see great value in experiencing a small business first hand and I look forward to learning more throughout the summer.

Taylor Miller ’16 Venture Analysis/Assessing the Squeeze

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View from Miller’s workspace at Option3

My name is Taylor Miller and I write to you from beautiful Santa Monica California where the Small Business Internship Fund has allowed me to intern with Option3, a company that takes medical technology from concept to commercialization. At Option3, it is all about assessing each opportunity and mitigating risk to maintain as much control as you can within the business model, which I think is fascinating. This kind of operation takes vision. That is where my boss and Wabash Alumnus James Dreher comes in. One of my favorite quotes and mottos to live by is “Always know if the juice is worth the squeeze.” In this industry, you have to be fully aware of what else is out there and how you are going to make your product the number one product among its competitors. That means researching every facet of the operation before pursuing it financially or building it in the workshop. This has been my job for the past month; to assess the squeeze. I am a venture analyst and I research the market size, regulatory path, risk load, reimbursement, ramifications of device failure, and even intellectual property. Patent searches have become my enemy, but I have learned so much about the precision and understanding of leverage needed to be an entrepreneur. Aside from researching, I have spent my summer here traveling up to San Jose for a business meeting one week and the next going into surgery to observe laparoscopic specimen removal. This internship has in no way been one-dimensional. I have been meeting with and discussing current projects with engineers, doctors, and finance experts where I am the only one in the room without a PhD or MBA. I was kind of hoping some of their genius would rub off on me.

So of course this internship has offered an opportunity to absorb and learn very valuable life lessons as well as real world knowledge, but I would not be doing this post any justice if I didn’t mention my summer outside of work. Santa Monica is very different from anything I’ve experienced in Indiana. Back home things are simple and quiet. Here, the traffic never stops and the people are even more non-stop. That’s what I like about living here though; there are so many motivated individuals. It doesn’t matter if the goal any given person has in mind is a productive one or not, they are driven to achieve it. Street performers line the streets when the sun goes down, and when it comes back up you can count on a herd of fitness enthusiasts running the boardwalk. I’ve also made my way into the city of Los Angeles for a Dodger baseball game and to a Street League Skateboarding competition, which is the professional league for skaters. It seems like there is always something going on here; in fact, tonight there is a concert on the beach that I’ll be attending after work. Thanks for reading, but now I should get back to work.

Michael Krutz ’18 Setting Himself Apart from the Rest


As a Small Business Immersion Intern, I am experiencing an internship unlike anything most college sophomores are getting the chance to this summer.  While working primarily from my home computer, it may seem that an internship based off of a laptop would have little to no work. Well, I can attest that none of that is true.  My internship is with an e-commerce start-up for consumers and businesses where I am independently responsible for projects that the rest of the team rely on.

Some of my initial projects include reviewing and updating our web knowledge center, consisting of thousands of financial management tools (and making use of my economics classes hourly!). Keeping all of our information up to date is crucial. Another project that I have been working with is the competitor analysis for our individual firm. Taking a look at similar services around the market allows for the small business to become more efficient through improvements at every step.  While undertaking these tasks I am in constant contact with my business immersion mentor and Wabash alum. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening we have individual phone calls where we discuss our weekly goals, current tasks and jobs for me to do.  Then on Saturday mornings we have our weekly whole team conference call with colleagues from across North America.

While I have been working for about one month now I am excited for what the rest of the summer will bring.  I recently spoke to a former intern who was extremely impressed with all the work that has been accomplished since he was last working the previous summer. This is an incredible opportunity to be able to be a key component to the launching a new service that is in its closing stages of final development. Thanks to Wabash College, Career Services, and the Small Business Internship Fund, I am able to experience something this summer that very few college students can attest to being a part of.

James Kennedy ’16 Experience is Better than Money

3Blackdot Influencer Marketing Agency

Los Angeles, California

JK1In my first 2-weeks here in Los Angeles I’ve learned two important things besides the fact that the food in amazing: (1) You never know where you will go/who you will meet and (2) be prepared to take on roles you didn’t expect. At 3Blackdot I’ve met and worked with some of the biggest gaming influencers in the world including VanossGaming, a YouTube comedy gamer that has over 2.3Billion Views on his channel. After showcasing some of my design skills for the company, Vanoss independently contracted me to design a new logo for his YouTube channel that will represent his brand to 12.6 million subscribers/viewers. While working for 3Blackdot as a Content Development and Talent Management Intern, I received additional contracted work by networking around LA including designing marketing materials for Undertow Films, a production agency with shows on a variety of networks such as AMC, Discovery Channel, and ESPN. Choosing to Intern for 3Blackdot with the SBIF, instead of another internship program, was one of the best and hardest decisions of my life. I was in a tight situation where another Internship offered extremely competitive wages in Carmel, Indiana which made me think about what I wanted to get out of my last Summer as an Undergrad. Ultimately it’s not about the money. It’s about what you take from the experience. My professional development thus far cannot simply be described in a one page blog, but let me give it a shot.

For starters, I live in Pasadena and commute the 1hr 30mins twice a day to and from work. I live with Clinton Jones, or Pwnisher, a YouTube Short Film Director that you would recognize if you watch the RocketJump YouTube Channel. I’ve learned from Clint that California pizza is worth having 3 nights in a row and that having a full on Nerf Battle with 5 guys in their mid twenties is still acceptable.JK4

In my second week working for 3Blackdot, Luke Stepleton, Wabash class of ‘03 and President of 3Blackdot, schooled me in YouTube101 and the power of organic marketing. It’s incredible to see just how influential YouTubers are when it comes to driving traffic to certain campaigns and events. My job at 3Blackdot (as an intern) is to visualize the success and impact that these Influencers have made on millions of subscribers/followers around the world through dynamic proposal decks for companies like YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo. I had a chance to socialize with thousands of Influencers at this years E3 Convention, even sharing a drink with Comedian Andy Milonakis at the YouTube Ace Hotel rooftop party. Other events that I attended was the red carpet Walking Dead E3 exclusive party, and the Xbox/Twitch VIP party where I networked with Nintendo employees and celebrated with MiniLadd, a YouTube comedy sensation. In LA, the work pays off.

To date, I’ve designed agency proposal decks for integrations with companies such as Verizon, 29/29, Legendary Films, Youtube, Facebook, Vimeo, Chideo, ZigZagZoom, and many more. In the past week, I’ve learned to not only design effective proposal decks but I’ve also taken on the task of designing, modeling, and animating additional video game characters for a new multiplayer PC game.

When It comes to describing this internship, the best way to put it is that I have a big role to play as an Intern, in working on not just one project, but all projects. I do believe that I will be coming back soon.  If you have any questions about what it’s like to live, work, and play in LA feel free to email anytime! Consider taking an internship in LA despite the cost. It is well worth it.

Kazimir Koehring ’18 Handlebar Cafe: This is Nantucket

Hey, I’m Kazimir Koehring, an incoming sophomore at Wabash College. Thanks to the Small Business Internship Fund, I am currently enjoying my summer 30 miles out to sea on the elegant island of Nantucket. Jason and Courtney Bridges of The Handlebar Cafe hired me as a marketing intern but I can say I knew, just from the interview, that this internship was going to be so much more than marketing. During the first month here, I have learned SO much about coffee. In reaction to this new coffee knowledge I know that I’ll be walking down the coffee aisle one day and our head barista Hannah will pop into my head convincing me not to buy pre-ground coffee and listing all the reasons why. From latte art to adjusting the espresso grind, Hannah has taught me everything I know about coffee and it has blown my mind.

Speaking on the Handlebar’s employees, Hannah is perfect for Jason and this business. Driven and devoted to coffee, Hannah is specialized enough for Jason to be able to trust her to make important decisions concerning the coffee Handlebar is serving. This consistency creates a quality product and gives Jason a chance to commit more attention to other components of the business. Having this specialized knowledge, Hannah is also able to train people like me: someone who has no prior knowledge in coffee. Thanks to Hannah, Jason’s philosophy on hiring is now based on potential for growth. He sees the constant customer interactions at the Handlebar as strong learning points for any employee. Making espresso drinks can be learned but being able to engage others and being nice is something that is built into one’s core.

When running a small business there are several components that need to be accounted for that may otherwise be overlooked by customers. There are the previously stated parts, such as having strong employees, that are necessary to run a successful business and then there are parts that are essential to any business. Paying rent, keeping a steady product supply, having an opening/closing procedure, and scheduling are just several of the overlooked components within a small business that I’ve seen so far. Since myself and two other Wabash men are living with Jason and Courtney, we hear about these overlooked instances on a daily basis. For a small business to even have a chance, there needs to be a strict awareness for the little things. Once the little things are taken care of there are more opportunities to look at the bigger picture and search for expansion.


kaz2While learning about the essentials and necessities of a small business, I see many opportunities for the Handlebar to grow. One of those is through community outreach. The Handlebar is “a community space disguised as a coffee shop,” and we have to work hard to uphold this statement. We get out in the community and volunteer as we will for “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” that takes place on June 29th and as we have already for “Bike Nantucket.” We also get out and run every Tuesday night for Brant Point Runners Club.

Along with volunteering, we uphold our community space by establishing a strong social media presence. We show support for events and groups on island, such as The Nantucket Film Festival and the Maria Mitchell Association, by posting pictures that have the potential to bring business to both parties. Without this collaborative attitude in Nantucket, it would be difficult for us to accomplish a community space disguised as a coffee shop; but when you walk into the Handlebar, you can just feel it.

When I am not working on the floor being a barista or cashier, I am searching for new ways the Handlebar can maintain its goals as well as advance them. Along with finding events to hold outside of the Handlebar, such as the sunscope, and finding creative posts to support local events, such as the Espresso Film Reel, I am also looking into how the Handlebar can expand. I want to pursue expansion because I see opportunities where the Handlebar can thrive. Some of these ideas will take substantial amounts of money that a small business might not have. I have to do baseline research and present a plan before these ideas can begin. This is a difficult task for me, but I am looking at this as a possible larger project that can challenge me and produce results for the Handlebar.




Austin Ellingwood ’18 Programming and Customer Success with Startup

This summer, I was given the opportunity to work for a startup company called Handshake, in Palo Alto, California. The house I am staying in is a multi-million dollar mansion, with guys from various Ellingwood1schools in Michigan. The two other interns are a couple of all around good guys from Wake Forest.  I have been helping with the Customer Success team, which involves helping out customers in a support role, testing out bugs, and aiding every team member in any way I can. I am learning new programming languages every day, so that by the end of the summer, I will be fixing bugs in the code. Until then, I will aid the Customer Success team in their day-to-day tasks. I have learned a great deal about small businesses in my short time here, and I am eager to learn more.

The life of a startup is a busy one. With less than 30 employees, and many schools trying to get on board with Handshake, there is little time for breaks. I spend most of my days in either the office, or various coffee shops around Palo Alto. I am enjoying the busy days full of work and full of pressure to get things done on time and with great quality.


One of my favorite parts about working for Handshake is the environment that I get to work in. Every employee is very supportive, and any criticism I receive is constructive. I enjoy working for Handshake because they appreciate all the work I do, which I think is partly due to the fact that it is a startup. I interact with the CEO on a daily basis, by either IM, or face-to-face, which is very unique to small businesses. I am excited for the future of Handshake.  

Joel Paquin ’16 Semler Financial Crash Course

Paquin1My experience at Semler with Craig Demaree ’02 has taught me things that will no doubt help me when I graduate next year. With a focus on retirement planning, the advisers at Semler Financial Group took me in and gave me a crash course on what retirement and retirement planning looks like.  Although retirement is a long ways away for an upcoming graduate like myself, I am quickly learning the importance of saving. I’ve been exposed to countless illustrations that show the importance of starting to save early, and how the growth that those savings accumulate translate in

to policy at retirement age. The immediate take home message that I get working at Semler, is to start saving EARLY.


Here at Semler I am kept busy most of the time learning the ins and outs of retirement planning. When I’m not seeing the financial side, I am seeing the business side. Often I get to meet people and sit in on client meetings to actually see what people do to set up their retirement.

Even if I don’t pursue this line of work when I graduate, the things I’ve learned here will apply to me regardless. I am set up to be a great saver once I start working. I’d like

to thank everyone here at Semler Financial Group and the Wabash College Small Business Internship Fund for giving me this opportunity.


Alan Ortiz ’17 Hands on Experience


alan ortiz 2           Working for Erik Ness ’94 has been a hands on learning experience. Since the day I started at Commodity Transportation Services in Phoenix, Arizona, I have learned an array of things. During these last three weeks, I have gained experience in dealing with insurance issues between firms, made a near infinite amount of phone calls to carriers across the nation, and successfully managed to stay employed.  This internship turned out to be nothing like I expected. Since day one I was handed significant responsibilities and I was trusted to assist the dispatchers in our office to ensure that loads, some worth up to $50,000, did not have difficulties. At first, this was an overwhelming task, because I had never done anything like this in my life. However, with the help of the staff at CTS, I was able to get the hang of the job fairly quickly.

The staff here at CTS has been extremely gracious and patient with me over these first few weeks. They are always willing to help and I learn new things from them every single day. They are a great team, and I feel privileged to be able to work at an office where everyone trusts each other and are always willing to help with anything. The office is always busy. We are constantly answering phone calls and trying to make sure that every order is perfect. On average, I make approximately one hundred calls each day split between speaking to brokers, truckers, insurance companies, and many different distribution centers serving Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs across the nation. I have also made many appointments so that truckers can both pick up and deliver their produce loads. This is often extremely challenging, because the people on the other side of the phone are sometimes unwilling to help, but we manage to get everything done.

alan ortizThe three weeks that I have worked here have shown me that I like the freight brokerage business and that I could see myself potentially pursuing a career as a broker. Everything is a possibility, but I feel that this is something that I can do for a few years after college. My plan is to eventually get an MBA, and I feel that everything I am learning in this internship would potentially help me to do so. I would like to thank everyone here at Commodity Transportation Services, as well the Small Business Internship Fund, for making this experience possible.

Doug Baker ’15 – San Francisco Operations

In my last summer before I join the real world, I have been interning at PROFUSA in San Francisco, California thanks to the Small Business Internship Fund. Before I got to Wabash I had worked for a small business, but this is my first experience with a startup. I was initially interested in PROFUSA out of a desire to expand knowledge I had gained while working for IT Services at Wabash. After talking to a fraternity brother who had interned at the company the year before (Taylor Neal), I was all-in.

Natalie's House

From left to right: Doug Baker ’15, Michael Miller ’16, Khurram Tahir ’01, Terrence Zhou ’17, and Adam Boehm ’15

I primarily work with the Director of Operations, and have spent a lot of my time developing tools to increase efficiency and collaboration at the company. The primary component of this has been my involvement with SharePoint. This is a service and program offered by Microsoft that can be used to build intranet structures for companies. Initially, I was tasked with developing protocols and understanding the programs that are used to shape the SharePoint environment. These include InfoPath and SharePoint Designer, which allow for more customization than the web-only SharePoint options. Since the company had no experience with the platform, I was on my own in week one.

Since then, I have been able to develop new ways to host and work with data and documents the company generates. Since most of the things are confidential, I also have to ensure that only the required people can access the information. Learning how to create and assign permissions, as well as building workflows to manage the contents of our SharePoint, has been a huge challenge. Once I became more comfortable with the processes involved, groups have started to ask about using the platform for more applications. InfoPath allows for the creation of forms with data fields that link to databases, which makes it very useful for managing our data. Because this allows for so many possibilities, educating people at PROFUSA about all of the potential is now my biggest challenge.

Another large project I have undertaken has been evaluating our options for document control. Since PROFUSA is a medical device company, they have to follow strict guidelines in their operations. One of these is ensuring they are Title 21 CFR Part 11 compliant. Before my time here I thought document control simply meant making sure things are saved but not available to the public, but I’ve since gained an appreciation for the requirements that help prevent mistakes in our nation’s healthcare products.

Without an internship or job, I certainly would not have been able to spend my summer in California in the first place. While here, I am trying to experience as much of the area as I can, taking numerous trips around the city or to the surrounding area. Despite only taking around 40 hours to make it to the west coast (my fiancée helped drive), I had time to stop at Mt. Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Badlands National Park, and Devil’s Tower. We took a short break in Eugene, Oregon to watch the Pre Classic, the fastest track meet on American soil (we saw 2 American records and 11 world leads). Afterwards, we drove down the Oregon and California coasts.


PROFUSA interns hard at work

Since arriving in San Francisco, we have been busy with work and exploration. I can comfortably say I’ve done nearly every tourist-type thing I should here. My favorite so far has been our trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but that may soon get overtaken. Bay-area interns were recently invited to a barbeque by Daren Courter ’89, a Wabash alum from Anderson, Indiana. We spent most of the day there, and have been invited to go abalone diving in a few weeks. Many Wabash graduates in the area have gone out of their way to make our experience as rewarding as possible, highlighted by Khurram Tahir ’01 providing us an endless supply of places to eat. I’m not tired of driving by the Golden Gate Bridge, going to the ocean, or seeing the mountains, but I am starting to miss cornfields and basketball hoops.