Clark ’16: Constructing a Foundation Through Externships

            During the first business week of January I participated in an externship at Nusurge Electric Company in Cleveland, Ohio.  I was able to get an externship there with the company because my uncle is the operations manager for the contracting company within Nusurge. During this externship I experienced the “business” side of construction. I was interested in seeing how an operations manager functioned in a construction company. I noticed how much the OP (Operations Manager) is out of the office. It is the OP’s job to visit the various construction sites to oversee the projects that the company is contracted for. The OP has many responsibilities including: checking with the foremen to see what their needs are, buying and distributing the equipment necessary to completing the job, calling business’/organizations in an attempt to get the company in on the projects. I learned how competitive the construction business is. There are a plethora of construction companies across the world, but there are only so many projects that need workers.

            In the three days of my externship I visited construction sites, handled important paperwork, functioned as a secretary, and networked with various foremen and owners of construction companies.

            Apart of performing day-to-day construction tasks, Nusurge has to purchase a myriad of expensive equipment that’s needed at the construction sites; and with that comes the bills from the companies that supply the tools to Nusurge. So, as part of my first day of work, I sorted hundreds of copies of the invoices that Nusurge received from the businesses across Ohio. Organizing the invoices from the company will prove useful. I learned that the invoices are like receipts that can be referred to if Nusurge was ever to be audited by the government. I also organized and sorted complex manuals and schematics containing the instruction necessary for the operation of the electrical wiring in the buildings Nusurge worked on.

            Additionally, I was asked to receive incoming calls for Nusurge and take down any information that was to be relayed to the manager. I analyzed multiple recorded messages on the voicemail where I also relayed information of high importance to the manager.

            By partaking in this externship I realized that I like to be in control of the projects and be the coordinator people refer to when they need something. I would rather coordinate behind the scenes then do the manual labor or be on the “front lines” per say. This experience is motivation for me to start my own business and be my own boss. I do not feel I could function at an entry-level job for very long. Watching the manager delegate and handle the higher matters rather than the trivial ones intrigued me.  I do not necessarily want to work in the construction business, but I learned that whatever job I do I want to be in charge. The externship at Nusurge taught me what it takes to be the leader in charge of a competitive business.

-A.J. Clark

Checking the Pulse on Hospital Administration–An Externship

I certainly wanted to stay as productive as possible during these past four weeks of winter break.  Thanks to the assistance of Career Services, I had the opportunity to spend three days conducting an externship with Terry Hamilton ’89.  Mr. Hamilton, an economics major in his time at Wabash, is President of St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital in suburban Detroit.  My exposure to the world of healthcare prior to this externship was limited to visiting a grandparent in a hospital, going to a check-up, or as a hospital volunteer in high school.  Administration may not be able to be seen from your back in a hospital bed; rather, it is what makes the process as seamless as possible (even though it may not always be all that seamless).

As a morning-time ritual, Mr. Hamilton and I reviewed two important sets of documents.  The first is a daily census of the hospital.  In my time at St. John’s, the hospital was experiencing numbers nearing capacity.  Upon my arrival, there were 22 patients in the emergency room who were going to be admitted to the hospital, but were waiting on a bed.  It’s great news for a hospital administrator when it comes to knowing “business is booming,” but by the same token, one cannot hope for high patient satisfaction ratings when waiting 12 hours or more for a room.  An important number that we looked at when it came to the operations of the emergency room is the LWBS, or left without being seen, number.  In the recent days of heavy patient volume, there were, at times, 10 to 15 patients who had checked-in to the emergency room, but had decided to leave before being seen by a physician.  By using linear regression through Excel, we were able to look at the number of ER visits and how that correlated to the number of LWBS patients.  With the equation you find from that linear regression, the question becomes: what number of ER staff will it take to minimize the LWBS number?

The second document set is a detailed safety report from the previous day.  Another great tool that St. John’s utilizes each morning is a “safety huddle,” where representatives from each department meet to discuss what occurred in the past 24 hours that was unsafe for patients.  This can range from falls to putting the wrong identification wristband to a delay in care.  It’s a great way for staff to constantly ask what can be done to better serve patients, and question what can be learned from situations where something does go wrong.

A side of the healthcare system that I didn’t know about prior to my visit was the role of a hospital president as a liaison between the hospital and physicians.  In the case of St. John’s, physicians at the hospital are not employed by the hospital, but instead choose to practice medicine there and choose to send their patients there.  Hospital administrators are forced to walk a tightrope and hold contract negotiations as though they were the GM of a professional sports franchise.  Essentially, the administrator must keep physicians happy in order to ensure that patients are happy and being treated with the utmost of care.

The experience reminded me, yet again, what great opportunities I’m afforded as a Wabash student.   I want to extend my thanks to Career Services, Mr. Hamilton for his kindness and time taken with me, and the entire staff of St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital for making me feel so welcome and providing such a great environment for me to learn and observe.


Patrick Bryant ’16

Behind the Scene in Financial Advising–An Externship

Editor’s Note: Brian Beardmore ’14 discusses his recent externship with Greg Charnes ’00.

During my previous two years of enjoying the 4 week long break that the college is so kind to give its non-seniors, I decided to do what I could to ensure that I did nothing productive. I enjoyed my extra time as much as I could before I would get the expected slap in the face given by the ensuing semester. This time, however, I decided to do something that could actually helpful to my future and that was through the participation in an externship.

I spent two days in Newburgh, Indiana (just East of Evansville) shadowing financial advisor Greg Charnes ’00 of Ameriprise Financial. Although the stay was brief, the experience and knowledge that I gained were far more valuable and extensive than I could have hoped for. It gave me a much better idea of what goes on in the day-to-day necessary work, most of it in which clients do not see.

Charnes has quite a bit of clients between his Nashville and Newburgh office locations and frequently meets with his clients to discuss their finances and what to do with them. However, my visit happened to be on a two day period in which he did not have any scheduled meetings. To many people this may sound as if I would not be able to learn much, but he had quite a bit to accomplish despite the lack of meetings.

Much of Charnes’s work comes from the preparation of meetings through research and organizing. The stock value of numerous companies are extensively researched to give Charnes a good idea of where the company is, has been and could look to go in the future. He advises his clients on what stocks to buy and sell, so having quite a bit of knowledge on these companies is crucial. Organizing files for his clients also took up plenty of time. The updating of information was necessary to ensure that surprises are minimized when the meetings happen.

This type of work took up most of the time I was there and I could not be more thankful for what I learned. Not only did I learn a bit more about stocks and how to look at them, I also learned a bit more on how to deal with people. In an economy that has plenty of upward and downward swings, keeping clients at ease and encouraged can be a difficult task. So much of what goes into this job is being able to not only make the clients comfortable, but to build a relationship with them as well. Advisors want their clients to be able to trust them and to not think that they are just trying to make money off of them.

Charnes and his co-workers seem to have the attitude that they are not simply helping people make money; they legitimately enjoy their job and are looking out for others that need financial advice. I am incredibly thankful for the experience that I have and I recommend anyone who might be interested in that field to visit them.