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Cole Crouch ’17 SBIF Cements Career Goals

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Jason Bridges ’98, Courtney Bridges (wife and business partner) of Nantucket Bike Tours with Wabash interns Cole Crouch ’17 and Michael Haffner ’16

Hello, from 30 miles out to sea!

My internship at Nantucket Bike Tours with Jason Bridges ’98, and his wife, Courtney, has been informative, active, and transformative. I am learning and developing a working knowledge about small business in the hospitality industry. I am building more professional relationships and social skills than I ever could’ve imagined. Some of the skills include developing self-awareness as it relates to others and my own attitude, values and behavior patterns (like smiling more). Additionally, I am always striving to succeed at daily or weekly goals and challenges.

Throughout the last month and a half, the day-to-day experiences working at NBT have taken the small business aspect of this internship to the brink. Everyday, Michael Haffner ‘16, Jason, Courtney, and I, the NBT team, lead at least two bike tours – a town view and tour out to Cisco Brewery. But aside from leading daily bike tours, Michael and I are constantly developing social media campaigns, networking door-to-door with our business cards/brochures, creating advertising strategies with hotels and other local businesses, learning QuickBooks, editing the website, and booking more bike tours! Together, the NBT team makes simple and complex decisions in areas such as marketing, pricing, website design, etc., around the dinner table, over delicious coffee at the Handlebar Café, or during an intense game of euchre.

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Crouch applies some Small Business elbow grease to the NBT equipment

Learning how to effectively compliment others, as well as understanding others’ motivations, interests and desires have been the single greatest lessons I’ve learned this summer. In his novel, How To Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie stated, “The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.” Every week, we are reading a new chapter in the novel and then applying Carnegie’s lessons to our everyday experiences.

Although I’m interning 861 miles away from Indianapolis, after just day 10 on the island, Nantucket began feeling like a second home. Ever since I arrived off the ferry, Jason and Courtney have fully immersed my fellow interns and I in the community and culture here on the island. Whether it is biking hundreds of miles around the island, running in a weekly community 5k run, attending the Maria Mitchell Red Tie Soirée Gala at Sankaty Head Golf Club, or volunteering on a Saturday evening at the Comedy Festival, we are continuously making our presence known as engaged community members and leaders.

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Crouch and Haffner with Courtney Bridges

Overall, this internship has challenged my goals and career ambitions in more ways than I ever imagined. My two dreams of owning my own business and becoming a lawyer have been even more cemented this summer. I will carry with me the experiences and lessons, as well as relationships and memories for a long time. I look forward to applying them in the future.

I would like to thank all of the alumni contributing to the Small Business Internship Fund. I am extremely thankful for my opportunity at Nantucket Bike Tours, which has been made entirely possible through the efforts of alumni at Wabash College.


Michael Haffner ’16 Takes “On” Nantucket

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Haffner ’16 with fellow Wabash intern Cole Crouch ’17

As I searched for internships this summer, I knew I wanted to do something unique that would have a lasting effect on my life.  I was longing for an internship experience where I truly had to “buy into” the business.  I wanted an experience where I felt like I could make a difference, learn lifelong lessons, and think on my feet.  My internship at Nantucket Bike Tours with Courtney and Jason Bridges ’98 has met and exceeded all of these expectations.

I have learned many things while leading bike tours around this beautiful island 30 miles out to sea.  The first lesson I learned was that, when running a small business, one must be “on” at all times.   Whether eating out at a restaurant, walking through town, or eating dinner at home while booking a bike tour for the next day, a small business owner must always be “on.”  In a tight-knit community like Nantucket, one must be smiling, friendly, and eager to seek conversation with others at all times!

Another valuable lesson I have learned thus far is to be involved in the community.  Whether volunteering at a local event, supporting a friend’s endeavor or even just showing up to town meetings, it is important to be involved.  Not only does this help create relationships you may not have had, but it also shows that you are a leader in your community.  We have been given the privilege of a Wabash education and in turn, we have an obligation to give back and lead when possible.

One of my goals for the summer was to become more comfortable and confident in social environments.  In addition to reading and analyzing Dale Carnegie’s How to Make Friends and Influence People, Courtney and Jason have put Cole Crouch ’17, Kazimir Koehring ’18, and myself in social settings where we need to interact with others.  We discuss the importance of body posture, eye contact, and confidence.  Being a naturally shy person, this was difficult for me at first.  However, after attending events such as the Maria Mitchell Gala, the Samuel Owen Art Gallery, and the Nantucket Comedy Festival, I have become more comfortable when seeking conversations and approaching others.

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Jason Bridges ’98 (center) with wife Courtney are hosting 3 Wabash interns through the Small Business Internship Fund in summer 2015. Haffner ’16, Crouch ’17, and Koehring ’18 are working in both of the Bridges’ businesses: Nantucket Bike Tours and The Handlebar Cafe, for a broad small business operations experience. Bridges have hosted many interns during their 4 years in the SBIF program.

In addition to these great lessons, I have improved my ability to think on my feet.  It is impossible to predict what will happen on a bike tour or where the day will take us.  When running a small business, one must be open to change and have a stable mindset when challenges arise.  Whether we’ve been picking up last minute bikes for a tour, fixing bikes, or scheduling last minute customers, I have learned to make quick, responsible decisions.

As a rising senior interested in a career in dentistry, I am grateful to be learning these lessons now.  Meeting different people on the bike tours each day, attending community events, and always being “on,” have given me a glimpse of the relationships, interactions, and insights that are all a part of running a successful small business.

I believe that my entire experience so far will enhance my ability to practice dentistry one day and will allow me to enjoy the relationships I build with my patients.  I am thankful that Wabash is able to provide great opportunities like this through the Small Business Internship Fund.  I see great value in experiencing a small business first hand and I look forward to learning more throughout the summer.