My second summer interning in Indianapolis has been a blast. I was hesitant last summer to live in a new place away from home and did not know of the emerging tech boom in the Indianapolis area. Truth be told I was excited to get back to Indianapolis this summer and work for another tech company in the area. After doing some research and hearing from other interns and people at career services they recommended Archon Apps. Archon apps is an app development company who focuses on eliminating the use of paper. Their products: Cirrus Security, Archon Safe and Cirrus have been very successful in the event security, water, and constructions business in eliminating the use of paper for these companies by creating customs forms for these companies which improves performance and makes it easier to track records.
Since my first day Tony Unfried the CEO and founder of Archon Apps a Wabash graduate from 2003 informed me of the main products Archon Apps offers and informed me of my project for the summer was to create a product called MyMobile, which replicates a company’s web site and transforms it into a custom mobile application anyone, can download for free on their smartphones. In this day and age with the amount of smartphones out there an easy way for companies to reach their customers 24/7 is to put something they see multiple times a day in the palm of their hands an app. So I was given an idea with one client already and told to make this your business and make it grow.
So with have I exactly done with MyMobile? Tony and I created a weekly plan with goals to keep me moving forward and to learn different aspects of developing a product. For the first four weeks, I did research on the product and other competition analyzing what they offer when it came to price and features and compared their model to ours to determine what our key focus should be. Also I looked at the customers and what should our target market be for this product with which we settled on companies who would use the app frequently to make changes whether that was a menu at a restaurant of a drink list at a bar or even golf courses, and there pin placements for the day. After the target market was found I set up meeting times with some great Wabash alumni to discuss the importance of technology in their field and if an app would benefit their company.
The second half of the internship I have been working on developing the website to drive traffic and to draw possible clients interest to the company. With the website up and running I have been following up and reaching out to more companies to gain interest and funnel to the website to check out what we have to offer. Finally, I have been combining my research into a complete business plan showing the work throughout the summer and the benefits of MyMobile.
It has been a privilege to work with Tony at Archon Apps; I would like to thank him for accepting me as his intern for the summer, and providing me with a great learning experience. Also, I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment Fund, without them none of this would be possible. Their partnership with Wabash College has and will continue to help young Wabash men continue to pave their way to a successful future.
Haley ’17 awaits his turn to present his business plan
With the last week of the LABB program we took a lot of time to work on our presentations for Wednesday. Tuesday my group spent a few hours in the CIBE work space figuring out exactly the way that we wanted our power point to come across and what information we wanted to convey to the investors. Having the CIBE gave us a place to get into the real business mindset. This was all in the preparation of our business plans on Wednesday. Wednesday we presented our business plans to a panel of 5 judges. Disappointingly my group did not receive as much funding as anticipated especially in regards to the amount of work and effort we put into completing it. When the judges were asking us questions about our business plan it made me realize that I had learned a lot about business the past seven weeks but also that I still had a lot to learn which I will strive to do. Before the LABB I didn’t understand all of the things that go into a business plan. Now I think that of I wanted to start my own business I have the skills to set up the frame work and the knowledge to pitch the idea to investors and run the business from the ground up. This is because we learned how to write the business plans from the ground up and incorporate all the factors. I would like to thank the Lily Endowment for giving me this opportunity to further my knowledge of business. Without the generosity of the Lily Endowment I would have remained pretty ignorant of all things that have to do with business and how I can apply my Liberal Arts education in the business world.
The LABB students present their Business plans in front of a panel of judges
Over the course of this internship, we had the chance to create two business plans. This was an interesting, challenging, and rewarding experience that I am glad to have been a part of. The first business plan we were assigned to create was one for a restaurant. I was in the lucky group that was assigned to design a business plan for a food truck. The catch was that we only had a week to do it. My responsibility was writing the financial documents. This was a useful experience because we were taught how to use Excel to create the financial spreadsheets, which will most likely be a useful skill to have in many future careers. Although it was time consuming and stressful, I do believe I learned a lot about budgets, income statements, cash flows, and balances. The next business plan we were assigned was to create an app. This was a challenge because in this technologically frenzied culture most app ideas already have been created. I had never heard of writing business plans for an app, but I have learned that there is more that goes into creating an app than you think. I had the assumption that if you were good with computers, creating an app would be cheap and easy; which is not true because designing and programming can take months and cost thousands of dollars to develop. The group I worked with came up with a business plan for an app that acted as an index for recipes and suggests meals that can be made from entering ingredients. Overall, I thought writing these business plans gave me useful tools that I will use later on and have given me confidence to be able to write my own someday. I learned about presenting to investors, working with partners, and the preparation that goes into creating the first version of a business plan. The only thing I wish was different was if we had more choice in what industry we were making business plans for, because I think it would be interesting to create a plan for a product or service company. I would like to thank the Lily Endowment through which I was able to take part in the LABB program.
This has been one of the most helpful programs through my Wabash career. Being a Wabash student, it is hard to gain real-life Business experience other than internships or externships. But the L.A.B.B. program has been a perfect segue for me. Throughout the 7 week program I have added new Business lingo to my vocabulary as well as learned professional lessons. One of the many great lessons was taught by Joe Trebley ’01. Joe told the L.A.B.B. students to never say, “No”. He reminded us that saying no only closes doors that have yet to be opened, but by saying yes there is a high percentage of more opportunities opening up for you in the future. A perfect opportunity for us to apply this lesson was in our consulting project. After watching some episodes of Shark Tank to better our knowledge of how to conduct a business pitch, Dean Raters challenged us to help the Dean’s office better communicate their roles on campus to prospective students, current students, alumni and parents. We were open to suggest whatever we found best for the school. The first place where we found place for revision was on the Wabash College webpage. After research was conducted, one suggestion was to simplify the website by changing the format. This would help visitors better surf through all the Wabash College information. We also suggested that a “People” page be created that would have specific bios and job descriptions along with a picture for each employee of the college. We thought this would help students, parents and alumni remember who they were meeting while on campus as well as know their roles to the College. Our last big suggestion was to hold weekly campus meeting called “Deans and Donuts”. This would allow students to pitch their perspectives to College changes or potential changes, but also allow student to talk the deans in a more casual setting. The L.A.B.B team is now just waiting to hear feedback from the judges on our proposals. Finally I would like to thank the Lily Endowment through which I was able to gain this valuable knowledge and experience.
The final week of LABB program is upon us, such a bittersweet time full of late night presentation practicing and afternoon El Charro runs. This week was mostly focused on one thing, getting our App pitches ready for our final presentation on Wednesday, July 1st. The first two days we had no classwork so my whole group and I got together at the CIBE office in downtown Crawfordsville and hammered out every detail about our App. A little background about our app, it is a life organizational app that pushes you to accomplish and set more goals for your self, in its simplest form to explain it is x-box achievements for your life and an updating bucket list. The name of the app is LyfeGoals. On Monday we worked on flushing out of idea more, making sure that our presentation had everything we needed and that it was really clear what our app was. Tuesday was pretty much the same, but this time we putt together our PowerPoint, it took all afternoon, and later in the evening we re-grouped and practiced the presentation probably eight to ten times. By the time it reached eleven at night on Tuesday we had our PowerPoint together and were well practiced in what we were saying for our big pitch the next day.
The LABB students working at the CIBE Offices
The big day is here, it’s the day of or final pitch and the competition is fierce. We all arrive at the MXI around 8 and my group makes sure to squeeze one more practice in before we do our final presentation. The way these presentations works, is five judges from the Wabash community come and each have $50,000 to invest in whichever App they like the most. The can invest there money in which ever way they want, and our group needed some big time money to win. Our group ended up going second and the presentation went pretty well. We all did the best we could do individually, I think some of the questions we got asked were really tough and had no answer for which ended up hurting us a lot. Most of the questions we got drilled on were things about target market in advertising, which we didn’t have a lot of explanation for. After every group had gone the judges spent time privately deliberating on who should get the money. When they were done they all came out and gave us some feedback group by group. The biggest thing they said about ours was to make sure we know our audience and have compelling reasons to sell our app. We ate lunch and just like that, it was over. Thursday the 2nd was out last day, a bittersweet time. We all arrived at MXI and discussed what we did and didn’t like about the LABB program with Roland, and we also talked about how we think our presentations went the day before. We found out how much the investors put in each company, and our group only got $25,000 so we ended up tying for last with another group. A little disappointing, but we did our best. And just like that, we had turned in our iPads and the LABB program was over. Overall a great experience and something that really changed how I view business and entrepreneurship. I would like to take a moment to thank the generosity of the Lily Endowment which allowed me to participate in the LABB program.
Entering the fifth week of the Lilly Lab Program, our focus as interns was heavily placed on our app projects. My group specifically was discussing the issue of who to initially market our app to in the first year. Fortunately, for my group we were able to visit Archon Apps in Indianapolis, IN. Archon Apps is home of SpeakEasy were app developers come together to work on and improve existing ideas for apps. The experience we had there was participating in a discussion with President and CEO of SpeakEasy Tony Unfried. Tony Unfried, Wabash graduate of the class of 2003, gave our group a brief background about himself and his path to becoming the President and CEO of SpeakEasy. Once introductions and the exchange of a few interesting stories were over he opened the floor to us interns to ask whatever questions we had. At this point in our trip to Archon Apps my group told Mr. Unfried about how we were struggling to decide whom to market our app towards. Mr. Unfried told us that in order to have success in a business such as app making it is important to start off very slim. What we gained from his answer was that although we see our app becoming useful to many age groups, it was critical to focus on one particular demographic. This initial demographic allows one to gain a solid foundation in users, which in turn will make it easier to gain users in the future. We also had a surprise guest in Dr. Joe Trebley who works at IU Research & Technology Center. Dr. Joe Trebley a Wabash graduate of 2001 gave us an example to further clarify Mr. Unfried excellent point. His example was how he would go about starting up a “one-use” sunscreen booth at golf courses. In his useful example he described that flooding money into such a project would be counter productive. Instead he described how he would simply go to a few golf courses and offer the service to see if others thought it was a worthwhile expenditure. This made perfect since to my group as later on in the week we took their advice and plan on marketing our app towards a specific demographic. The experience we had at Archon Apps along with Mr. Unfried and Dr. Trebley was one that was very insightful and much appreciated by the Wabash Lilly Interns. I would like to acknowledge and thank the Lily Endowment for giving me this opportunity to further my knowledge of business.
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.