Richard Hall ’24 — First, I want to thank Wabash and the Center for Innovation, Business & Entrepreneurship (CIBE) for the opportunity to develop valuable skills in business and life that will no doubt help me in my career. I would like to especially thank CIBE Senior Fellow Anthony Mendez ’20 for leading the day-to-day efforts of the Business Innovation Program (BIP) and Associate Dean Roland Morin ’91 for overseeing this program and ensuring that I and others have this opportunity.

The BIP allowed me to have the opportunity to spend the last eight weeks with Purchasing Platform, Inc., an e-commerce company for mobile home community managers. Purchasing Platform, Inc. offered me a role on their Special Projects Management Team as the Vendor Operations Intern. I facilitated the communication between vendors or suppliers like Home Depot and Lowe’s and community managers for mobile home parks across America. Many of them are overworked and underpaid and are focused on saving money on materials for their next project. While my work started pretty simple with my onboarding into the quote building software over the first couple of weeks, my role eventually extended from vendor and customer contact to order fulfillment. Among other things, I have had my hands in helping continue to build out the catalog while gaining exposure to Salesforce and project planning.

Along the way, I have also had the opportunity to have valuable interaction with Wabash alumni in the business world. Purchasing Platform, Inc. CEO Dave Bowen ’99 was gracious enough to sit down with me and my fellow Wabash interns to take us through the most currently pressing issues at the forefront of the company and offer us plenty of great advice in the meantime. While the BIP itself was educational in hard and soft skills alike, I learned the value of team meetings. Between learning about the mission of the company, the long-term trends of revenue, and pitches of the latest approach at securing more funding; we often heard valuable stories about not just how to form connections in business like using authenticity as your best sales pitch, but how to balance the ambitions of your career and personal life.

As my internship with Purchasing Platform, Inc. concludes next week, I have the opportunity to apply the world of e-commerce and the soft skills of the business. The skills I acquired from the program can be on display there as I will carry forward what I have learned into my next professional experience.