Wow did I have an interesting day this Friday.
My fellow LABB Interns and I visited the IU Research and Technology Corporation and the Triton Brewing Company in Indianapolis. While Wabash alum Joe Trebley ’01 was quite the cool guy to talk to at IURTC, I’m going to be focusing on my first tour of a craft brewery. (I swear it’s not just because it involves the creation of beer!) I can genuinely say I learned a lot about brewing and all the factors that go into the business in general.
Alum David Waldman ’93 is the co-founder of Triton and gave us a detailed tour of the brewery; he covered the history behind the building, (it used to be an army base,) what goes into creating a batch, and their unique competitive advantage. Triton prides itself on not only quality ingredients, but also having the highest quality water go into their beer. Considering more than 95% of the beer consists of water, they figured starting with ultra-pure H2O would give their beer a distinctive taste/advantage.
It should be said that I not only learned what went into making their beer, I also learned that running a brewery isn’t easy. It is one of the most scrutinized goods in the economy; another good that is comparably more scrutinized is pharmaceuticals. As a brewer, you need to be aware of mandatory government regulations, how many bags of hops you have on hand, how much is expected to be brewed by a certain date, and many, many other constant concerns. Sure, you get to brew and create beer for a living, but you are still running a business that deals with ever-changing markets, demands, and competition.
Marco and Dave strike a pose at Triton Brewery
I feel that this experience really broadened my horizon in terms of my perception of the craft-brewing industry. There are passionate brewers behind each brewery that go through the same creative struggles as David. There is much more than meets the eye in terms of difficulty in starting, running, and succeeding in craft-brewing. This trip also reminded me that one can follow their passion and bring it into their everyday career life and succeed. I feel very excited for my life after Wabash and to execute my ambitions as well.
I’d really like to thank the LABB Program at Wabash and also the Lilly Endowment for granting me this beautiful opportunity to explore the many facets of business, marketing, and entrepreneurship along with these on-site visit experiences.I know the things I learn and people I meet during these next few weeks will better prepare me for my life after Wabash.
Left to Right: Adam Andrews ’12, Stephen Fenton ’15, and Andrew Shelton ’03 at Paramount in front of their new robotic plastic injection press
Stephen Fenton ’15 - Halfway through my internship at Paramount Mold and Tool, I have learned numerous invaluable lessons regarding business and professionalism, as well as learning a lot about myself and how to function in a fast-paced, diverse, and completely different world. Paramount Mold is a plastic injection plant where various plastic products are manufactured, ranging from PVC pipes to remote controls to extremely important medical devices and parts. Aside from the plastic injection aspect of the factory, Paramount is unique in that it still constructs its own plastic injection tools (or molds), as well as tools for other plastic injection plants. Paramount Mold and Tool is owned and operated by Wabash alumnus Andrew Shelton ’03, and more recent alumnus Adam Andrews ’12 presides over the sales department. Although both men preside over numerous business duties, they are both highly invested in the factory itself, and the production of Paramount’s products from A to Z. In my effort to assist the Paramount staff in its continual growth, I have gathered data regarding numerous aspects of the factory and its production, and then transposing it into a digital format while providing initial analysis. I have also had the chance to compose, review, and edit workplace organizational systems and literature. In undertaking these activities, I have learned invaluable lessons regarding business, from plant management to logistics to pricing and sales, all the while learning more technical skills, from Excel to a workplace computer program called JobBOSS, and many other business important computer programs in between.
As great as my summer at Paramount has been, my time away from the office has been a tremendous experience in itself. I drove through six and a half treacherous hours of Florida traffic on the afternoon before my internship started and arrived at a place in downtown Fort Lauderdale that I had never seen and had a hard time imagining. Since then I have met great people and felt right at home; nearly everyone here is very accommodating and is willing to talk to you, which if you know me, is nice to see. I have never felt too far from home, for I’ve had family down here for what seems like half of my time here (one of the many perks of being birthed into a family of “Floridians”). I have also made numerous weekend adventures to the cosmopolitan metropolis of Miami, which is like nothing that I have ever experienced in my life. While dining at a famous Cuban restaurant and coffee shop deep in the heart of Miami, David Beckham and his family came in and sat down next to my family and I, all after an excellent, in-depth tour of the beautiful Marlins Park. Outside of the hustle and bustle of Miami, I was lucky enough to be taken out onto the deep sea with Wabash alumnus and fraternity brother Cory Olson ’85 and his live-in intern and classmate of mine, Hongli Yang ’15, where we collectively caught two amber jacks and two great and delicious gag groupers, all before I was able to catch my first ever sailfish. My summer in the Sunshine State has given me memories and lessons that will last forever, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that I have been given through the Small Business Internship Fund.
Alex Cisneros ‘15 - While in search for a summer internship I spoke with one of my fraternity brothers on what I would hope my summer would entail. I wanted to work for a startup company because I hope to own a business after Wabash. He told me he knew of an alumnus who was moving to a new company, Mr. Erik V. Ness ’94; he was moving to Commodity Transportation Services (CTS), which he and his partners would open up. I got in touch with Mr. Ness and he offered me the job. Through the Small Business Internship Fund I would be interning in Phoenix, AZ working as a freight broker along with a few other Wabash men.
Thus far, working for CTS has been a great learning experience. Everyday I learn something new. In the trucking industry you need to be very aware of what is happening on a daily basis; from weather news to gas prices and everything in between related to freight logistics. I was given three simple rules for this business that I believe apply to everyday life situations: 1) Always be honest 2) Know as much as possible about the load before making a call and 3) cross your t’s and dot your I’s. Paying attention to detail is very important since you are dealing with cargo that is worth more than fifty thousand dollars.
My duty as a broker is to negotiate with trucking companies on a rate for them to haul fresh produce from one state to another. Although this may sound easy, I’ve come to learn that in this business anything can go wrong. From the moment you agree with a trucking company on a rate to the moment they deliver you are responsible for that load. This means you need to be aware of location and time for pick-up and delivery, make delivery appointments with different companies, and make sure the truck is doing well on transit. You need to be in control of all this while still trying to book more trucks for different loads.
I am able to stay under control on all these situations, because I have become very close to my co-workers who have helped me incorporate my skilss into the job very easily. My co-workers are brothers and they are by far some of the most remarkable men I have met. Anytime I have a problem they are always there to help. Currently, with the help of my co-worker, I am dealing with a sixty thousand dollar cargo claim on one of the trucks I hired. He has been of great help and is teaching me how to deal with complicated situations as they arise. Therefore, I am more than happy to work alongside these great individuals.
Working for CTS has definitely been one of the best summer experiences of my life so far. I would like to thank Mr. Erik V. Ness, Mr. Scott Crawford, Career Services, and of course the Small Business Internship Fund, without their help this great experience would not be possible.
Mason Zurek ’16
Mason Zurek ’16 - I came into this program fairly hesitant. Business was just something that never seemed to suit me. I’m not a numbers guy, but I love to read and write which is why I’m fairly sure I want to be an attorney. Also, I enjoy competition immensely and law seemed like the proper way to go. So, I figured I could take this program and learn more about business in order to help me later if I go into corporate law.
Yet, as we learn more about business, and specifically entrepreneurship, I find myself hooked for two reasons: the challenge and the potential reward. The idea of putting everything you own on the line in order to be successful is scary, yet enticing. What could be more possibly exhilarating than seeing your gamble pay off? I view it as a competition against myself; seeing if I can actually set out and start a successful business is now something that greatly interests me. The other reason I mentioned, reward, is more of a dream scenario. Building a successful business and selling it off for enough money to retire comfortably by 40 would be wonderful.
In conclusion, I have been having a great time with this internship. I’ve been engaged, questioned, and forced to rely on the analytical skills Wabash has taught me. I’m looking forward to the next two weeks.