Marco Ortega ’17 The Business of Brewing

Wow did I have an interesting day this Friday.


Ortega ’17

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

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.

Alejandro Reyna ’17 Because Someone Helped Me


Reyna ’17

This past Thursday the LABB group visited two Wabash men in their nesting grounds. Joe Trebley, who is the Head of Startup Support and Promotion at the Indiana Research and Technology Corporation in Indianapolis (IURTC), and David Waldman the Co-Founder of Triton Brewing Company.

Talk about two distinct paths with more peculiarities. Joe and David both personify how a person works with unwrought materials and makes their own polished product that is their profession. What I learned from both of them is something you just cannot learn in a classroom.

While at IURTC Joe told us how he got to IURTC working with Startups with a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry. His story was filled with successes and failures and like and prudent Wabash Man, Joe said he learned more from his failures. Joe through those hurdles was able to blend “science and business,” the two things he saw himself wanting to work with. At IURTC, Joe aids IU students and professors take their research ideas and make them turn a profit. One of the great Startups that he is working on is changing the treatment for PTSD victims.


LABB students, Zack and Alex share an umbrella while waiting for their food in front of Triton Brewing

That same day the LABB group visited Triton Brewing Company and we met David Waldman. David was an English major at Wabash and now owns Triton Brewing Company. David humorously gave us the ups and downs of how runs a successful business that, as he put it, produces a “controlled substance”.  It was a change of pace from being in an academic/professional setting at IURTC to then a brewery. What was the same with David and Joe is they both acknowledged that they were talking to us and giving up their time “because someone helped” them when they were a bit unsure of what they wanted to do. David and Joe knew maybe some of us might be unsure but that they were there to help us.

David and Joe did teach us a lot about what they were doing and how their Wabash education helped them get there. While a majority of LABB is in the classroom reading very interesting Harvard Business Cases, getting out interacting with successful alumni doing what they enjoy is also a very beneficial part in LABB. Many thanks to the Lily Endowment for this opportunity!

Delon Pettiford ’17 Real World Marketing Applications


Pettiford ’17

During week three of the LAAB internship we transitioned to the ideas and strategies of Business of Marketing. Throughout the week we learned a numerous amount of relatable business terms for marketing, strategic marketing vs tactical marketing, and the importance of networking. Monday we all had given our own business pitches for a theoretical restaurant which allowed us to use some of these experiences in a real world situation by creating things like income statements, balance sheets, and marketing strategies. We have also been given great opportunities like meeting alumni such as Rob Shook IBM’s chief strategic industry solution. His talk about motivation, creating opportunities for yourself, and networking was great encouragement for us to reach out to alumni because they are here to help. He spoke of how he stood on alumni’s shoulders to reach his goals and as a Wabash man he owes it to the college to pay back his dues and help out the younger generations of Wabash students.


LABB students finishing up their negotiation practice

Throughout the internship I’ve learned real world business situations from the many hands-on activities we’ve done throughout the internship, site visits of different start up business, and building relations and meeting alumni. I’ve also learned to speak “business” in the sense of learning many different business vocabulary and understanding all the paperwork behind starting and owning a business. I would like to give a huge thanks to the Lilly Endowment for funding the program. I’ve learned so much in the first three weeks that can be applied to many real world situations. With my Rhetoric major and Econ minor I plan to get into business marketing and then one day own my own business. This internship has opened my eyes to the actual work that goes into business and has motivated me to continue to follow my dreams because they are definitely obtainable with hard work and dedication. Thank you Lilly Endowment

Connor Rice ’17 Continued Education in Marketing


Rice ’17

First off I would like to take a brief moment to thank the Lilly Endowment for providing me with the opportunity to take part in the LABB program. This week we welcomed our instructor Roland Morin, back from relinquishment of his role to Will Weber ’11 who is was versed in finance and took on the responsibility of imparting his knowledge onto us. At the beginning of the week we did our restaurant pitches that were supposed to one, give us an idea of what being an entrepreneur is like, two, to provide us with the experience to give pitches in front of judges who acted as potential clients, and finally as Roland delicately put it, “to never want to start a restaurant ever”.  I thought all the members of the Labb program did a fantastic job presenting their restaurant ideas to the judges and I quickly became aware of how innovative my fellow co-workers are.  My group in particular received the most investments from the judges so we were very excited that they found the family restaurant to have the most potential out of all the great ideas that the other groups presented.  Later that week we had Dean Raters come in and present his consulting project that presents a challenging but doable task.  My colleagues are excited to begin working on that project and I am sure they will be efficient and effective with their efforts.  With Roland back in the mix we

The LABB students sit and listen as Dean Raters explains their upcoming consulting project

The LABB students sit and listen as Dean Raters explains their upcoming consulting project

went through a Marketing 101 crash course that took us through the essentials of marketing and it gave us an opportunity to practice the strategies and concepts we learned in group activities.  After participating in the marketing immersion program and my brief experience with the Labb program I believe that marketing is the career path for me.  Roland’s expertise in the field has and will be valuable for myself and my co-workers for the duration of our internship and for possible future internships.  We capped off a successful week with guest speaker, Rob Shook talking about his career with IBM and the keys to having a successful career in business and in life.  I was moved by his words and he is definitely an alum that all Wabash men should aspire to become.  He has proven to be a successful man of the industry as well as a man of faith and for that I can call him a hero of mine.

Chris Szostek ’17 Hurdles in Financing


-Szostek ’17

This week was the Financial Boot Camp. We were lucky enough to have Will Weber ’11 come into class to teach us everything we needed to know about the financial details of starting, maintaining, and operating our own business.  Personally, the largest hurdle that would come to my mind in starting a new business was generating the initial capital. It was always tough to get my mind around the amount of capital needed to start a business. I couldn’t understand how anyone did it! It seemed like you had to already have a boatload of resources to work with. How can anyone do it from nothing? All of my questions were answered and more. Will was very generous with his knowledge and gave all of the details on creating a start-up from nothing. Will taught us about where to find the initial capital and where to look for investors. It boiled down to four main avenues. Bank loans, angel investors, friends and family, and credit cards were the best solutions. We learned about the pros and cons of each source, and what to expect when lobbying for initial investments. We learned how to finance and how to budget our ventures. After looking at the hard figures, and learning how to map out our financial forecast, everything suddenly became clear.  Starting a business no longer seemed like a pipe dream. The LABB internship has already far surpassed my already high expectations, and it is only the beginning of week 3! I look forward to what else is to come, and I am very excited to learn how to build even more bridges to business. I would like to extend a huge thank you to the Lilly Endowment for funding this incredible program, Will Weber for lending his time this past week, and Roland Morin for taking the lead in the LABB program.

McHale Gardiner ’17 The Business of Finance


Gardiner ’17

My name is Mac Gardiner and as you probably already know, I am currently an intern involved in the Liberal Arts Bridge to Business program at Wabash College for the summer of 2015.  We have just completed our second week of the program, which was an intensive and interactive week focused on finance.  The financial boot camp was ran by Will Weber, an alumni from the class of 2011.  Mr. Weber ran us through the three essential documents that a business will need in order to function: a balance sheet, income statement, and cashflow.  When examining these documents, we spent a particular amount of time focusing on factors a small business start-up would have to consider.


On Thursday, May 28, after spending the first two days describing the functions the three financial statements served, we began to construct one for an imaginary shoe store we were beginning.  Before we did this exercise, I never realized just how many factors have to be considered when beginning a business.  For a simple shoe store, we had to generate our number of employees, hours opened, location, pricing for the shoes, how much it cost for us to sell the shoe, and many more factors.  As we began to think of an aspect we would have to consider about the business, three more seemed to pop up.  It gave me just a glimpse of how much research and time spent developing ideas has to go into simply beginning a business, let alone running it when it is started.  There are many different factors that must be considered before even opening the store.


Gardiner ’17 practicing Excel after taking part in a 1 week financial boot-camp

After we had developed our different factors, we began to assign costs to each one.  Now, if you were beginning your own business, these numbers would be figured through countless amounts of research of the market you are entering into.  For our sake, we estimated values based on our own experiences.  After assigning costs, we could finally construct an income statement in an Excel spreadsheet.  Excel allows you to easily calculate values and change the numbers depending on different scenarios.  Once we had built our expected income statement, we could then build out our other two financial statements, the balance sheet and cashflow.

Going through the financial aspects of running a business will force one to define their market, the product they are selling, and above all else, appropriately define for themselves what there business will be.  It forces you to develop the other aspects of your business appropriately because in order to have an accurate financial prediction, you must define what you are doing.  This week of finance has been very eye opening to say the least.  When running a business, at the end of the day it all comes down to the dollar figures and how you are generating more of it.  Going through and understanding the three essential financial statements any business needs truly helps one get  grasp on the entire ins and outs of business itself. I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment for giving me this opportunity to further my knowledge in finance and business in general.

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.  

Day 12 – Welcome to the Ward

Ward where Bilal is working. Photo slightly altered for privacy reasons.

Ward where Bilal is working. Photo slightly altered for privacy reasons.

Bilal Jawed ’17 – Welcome to Ward 4C in Mulago Hospital, the last stop for many HIV patients and my second home for this summer. Understandably, one of the most common questions I get asked by senior members of the team is: “[H]ow are you getting used to the ward?”

It is very difficult for me to capture the atmosphere of the Ward: the sights, the sounds, and the smells. You can practically feel the sickness in the air and touch it. Perhaps it is best to begin with the familiar.
Imagine your last hospital stay, and if you are fortunate enough to never have been admitted into a hospital, think back to visiting a friend or loved one. Maybe you are dropping by to sign a cast, welcome a little one into the family, or give your well wishes after a successful surgery. You probably have a room to yourself, a nurse that visits every hour or so, clean bedding, and food to ensure the best chance at recovery. When you go to bed, you feel comforted by the fact that the best doctors armed with nearly unlimited medications and technology will be present if anything were to go wrong.
Now, welcome to 4C. First remove your individual room and replace it with a large, open-aired room, packed to the brim with hospital beds. Inches to your left, right, and at your feet, are beds of literally the sickest people in the world. People battling HIV along with tuberculosis, meningitis, malaria, hepatitis, rabies, or most often, a combination of several infectious diseases. When you go to bed at night, you can hear your neighbor convulsing from a seizure, or someone across the room moaning from pain. In the morning, you can smell people who urinated or defecated on themselves, or hear the cries of a family mourning someone who did not make it though the night. You depend on your family to visit you, clean your sheets and feed you, because the hospital does not have the proper resources or staff to provide them for you. At the same time, you are fighting your own battle. Not a broken arm or the flu, but diseases that require the best care in the world — but sadly, you do not have the best care in the world because you belong to Ward 4C.
Now that we’ve seen a glimpse of the patient’s perspective, I’d like to quickly and briefly shift to the doctor’s challenges (a topic to be revisited in a future blog). From Day 1 when the patient is admitted, it is a race to get him or her discharged. Especially because we deal with HIV patients with already weakened immune systems, hospital acquired infections (HAIs) are a real danger. This took me a long time to grasp—the ward, where people go to heal, can actually be a source of illness because of the high concentration of already very sick people. Moreover, with limited availability of drugs and equipment like ventilators and MRI machines, it is like fighting a goliath blindfolded. The challenge ahead is already so monstrous, but handicaps we face make it just that much harder. In fighting the “Goliaths”, there is definitely a danger to the “Davids”—stress, emotional struggles, or even worse. While many of the doctors and nurses that I have spoken to won’t admit it, there is certainly a health risk of just working in Ward 4C. TB is in the air, and HIV+ infected needles are everywhere. I myself have handled HIV+ needles and cerebrospinal fluid containing HIV (of course, having received the proper training and precautions). While these are trained professionals and historical occupational exposure is relatively low, it is always frightening knowing that you are a single accident away from needing post-exposure prophylaxis.
The week before my flight to Uganda, I was hit with the news that my father had a heart attack. Instead of taking my Chemistry final, I was spending nights in the hospital back in Indianapolis with my father awaiting and following his open-heart surgery. While we were all nervous, I knew in the back of my head that everything would be fine because at the end of the day, I trusted the quality of care. Fast forward only a week and half and I can’t say the same for the patients battling HIV/meningitis. I’m glad to be witnessing these harsh realities firsthand. For both the patients and the doctors, it truly is a war out here, but I am glad to be apart of it in anyway I can.
More to come about working on a clinical drug trial in Kampala!

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.


Deryion Sturdivant ’17 Talking Business


Sturdivant ’17

First week is down in the books. During our first week we were tasked with crafting a business plan for a variety of different restaurant types. Beginning this business plan has been eye opening as I am just being introduced to the business field. There is so much that goes into a single business plan and I am intrigued to learn the ins and outs of it, as we work on it the next two weeks. One of this week’s highlights was watching Shark Tank. I’d never seen this television show before. Watching entrepreneurs give pitches of a lifetime in front of four “sharks”, venture capitalists, gave me ideas for future endeavors. I was able to make connections to real life business, and our current business plan because of the show. Every company is backed by a strong business plan, as it is the foundation and glue to any

The LABB students after introductions on the first day of their internship

The LABB students after introductions on the first day of their internship

successful company. Weston Gregg, who led the LABB program the first week, occasionally paused the show, to ask questions that kept us engaged. Often he would ask if we would invest in the entrepreneurs company, I’d like to think that investing in other people’s dreams is just as important as investing in your own. Next Monday we are planning on giving pitches of our own and I hope to use some of the concepts of presenting that that we were able to observe on Shark Tank. Many times on Shark Tank poor ideas are overshadowed by the strength of the presentation. It is my goal to be such a strong presenter that no matter the content, I am captivating and convincing. For example, the group of interns gave pitches about ourselves in order ascertain our strengths and weaknesses so that we could be divided into groups for our first business plans.  I take pride in my ideas and values, which is what I believe made my pitch strong. I was assigned to a group that I believe is going to be extremely successful. To be apart of the business field, we must be self-confidence, and put our best foot forward in every endeavor. Finally I would like to thank the generosity of the Lilly Endowment for providing me with the opportunity to take part in the LABB program.