As the 2014-15 academic year came to a conclusion this past May, I found myself filled with equal parts relief at having completed my first year of college and anticipation for what was to come this summer. Similarly to most other college students, I knew that I would have to spend my summer working. Having spent the last two summers working as a busser at a restaurant, the idea of working all summer was nothing new to me; however, this summer was going to be a far different experience for me. Through the generosity of the Lilly Endowment, I was presented with the opportunity to spend the first eight weeks of summer as an intern for Perfinity Biosciences under the direction of Kevin Meyer (Wabash Class of ‘06). Perfinity is a small company located in the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, IN.
A great dilemma faced by modern-day chemists, biochemists, and other great researchers in the biotech industry is that while the equipment and experimental procedures used have evolved at an increasingly rapid pace, the methodology behind the acquisition and analysis of samples used has remained alarmingly archaic. It is in this unique niche that Perfinity has developed a business. To increase the efficiency of experiments, and ease the lives of other scientists, Perfinity has developed products that have cut sample processing times from over 10 hours to about 20 minutes. Along with fellow Lily intern Jake Norley ( Wabash Class of ’16), we spent the summer as a part of the research and development team at Perfinity and worked alongside the other scientists in testing current products as well as aiding in research that could contribute to future products at the company. Having only one year of chemistry under my belt at Wabash, I was nervous that I was not going to be capable enough to contribute to great work here, however, my boss assured me that the other employees had learned a lot of the science behind the work as they worked through it and not to fret. Sure enough, by the end of the 8 weeks, I had become far more confident in my scientific abilities and had learned volumes of chemistry that will be applicable in not only my future course load at Wabash, but also in attaining my goals of becoming a successful chemist after graduation. One exciting moment during our 8-week tenure at Perfinity was when Jake and I found out that the research we had done would be used to file a patent for what could potentially become a future product. While I cannot disclose what the patent entails, I can tell you that it was an incredibly rewarding experience to know that our work was able to help the company achieve some of its goals.
The small business structure of Perfinity allowed me to learn about entrepreneurship and running a small business in addition to all of the science behind what we were doing. I was able to take away lessons in marketing, sales, finance, and much more during my time here. I felt that this was a true extension of a liberal arts education in the sense of making me a much more well-rounded individual. I cannot express my thanks to the Lilly Endowment for making this opportunity possible for me and all the other Wabash interns who were able to benefit from it possible. This internship has provided me with insight into the field where I plan on developing a career, and I consider myself truly blessed to have had such an amazing opportunity and met the great people at Perfinity with whom I am lucky to consider now myself friends with.
Sean McGrath posing next to some of the Triton brew-masters.
Heading towards my final year as a student at Wabash College, I could not think of another internship I would have preferred to work for than with the Triton Brewing Company. I learned valuable lessons inside and outside of the Microbrewery this summer, and I especially want to thank the Eli Lilly Endowment Fund for me to receive this incredible internship opportunity. The advantage of this internship was on a rotated schedule to be capable of learning every single aspect of their business.
David Waldman, Wabash Alum and founder of Triton, always told me that this internship is unique and special in comparison to other internships provided through Wabash. My first two weeks I learned how to make Triton’s beer by being a part of the “brew crew” where we would be working before the sun rose in the morning to produce some of the best ale in the Indianapolis area. The following two weeks, I spent inside the tasting room being a licensed server for Triton. I found this to be very beneficial for me because I learned so much about the beer, needing to be able to describe the beers to customers; also, because my family owns a bar and restaurant in Chicago, I learned important managerial and served tactics in case I was ever to manage the restaurant. The next two weeks I spent on this internship was with the sales and marketing team and followed along on their daily stops to bars, restaurants and liquor stores in hopes to sell more of our product; as well as check-up on our current products being held at locations. Following two weeks of sales, I spent the next few weeks in the Operations office and learned accounting and organizational skills. Throughout the entire internship, I did many various events that included working beer festivals such as one hosted by the Indy Eleven Soccer Club and the Indiana Microbrewers Fest. I also hosted my sampling event at Kahn’s Liquor store this summer that I felt privileged to be the one representative of the company present.
Being from Chicago, living on my own with limited friends and no family around was a great learning experience. I can honestly say that this summer was important towards my preparation of living on my own permanently once I am finished with school. Along with all of the great experiences I had with Triton this summer, I also found some time to accomplish other things such as completing the LSAT test, meeting new friends, planned weekend trips to Nashville, TN and Chicago, and grew a relationship with my parents and Triton with hopes to have our bar serve Triton beers once they’re approved to self-distribute in Chicago. This summer also brought some hardships including myself and fraternity brother being kicked out of our living area for the last two weeks of our internships. I had nowhere to stay, but fortunately I work with great people here at Triton that set myself up for a place to live for the final weeks of the summer. I am very thankful for David Waldman and the rest of the Triton Brewing Company staff; this experience shows that they cared for me as more than just an employee, they sincerely cared for me inside and outside of the brewery. Although I’m uncertain whether I want to work in the microbrewery business in the future, this internship was still beneficial for me learning how to manage and maintain a small business. Also, learning more about the beer we drink has been so influential, the days of drinking Busch Light are long gone for me …I also feel obligated to teach friends of mine to try craft beer and realize there are a lot better options besides Miller, Budweiser, and Coors to drink. I can proudly say that it has been an honor to be a part of the Triton team and helping them expand their successes to new regions of the Midwest.
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!
Connor Sullivan ’15- For the Triton Brewing Company internship there are four parts that make up the internship as a whole. These four parts are divided up according to the four parts of this business: sales, production, tasting room and operations. With the internship position spanning a period of eight weeks, each section of the internship last two weeks. I first started off in sales. For this period I followed our sales director around and learned the process of acquiring new customers as well as how to maintain and build upon relationships that Triton Brewing Company already had with prior customers. The production side of the business is the behind the scenes part. Here I learned about the brewing process and how the beer, then packaged and readied for shipment. Triton Brewing Company has a tasting room on the front part of the building. This is a bar scene where guests are able to come in and enjoy our products and others that we find quite favorable as well. I took part in the event planning, how to run and operate the tasting room and was given the chance to serve our final product on some days, as well. The final part of this internship is the operations. Operations involve the financial part of running the brewery. It can involve anything from paying bills, collecting payments and keeping inventory of what we have and what we need to buy. Overall, this has been a very exciting and informative experience. Not only have I been given the chance to learn about business and how to run a small business, but I was able to learn about the entire brewing process. I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment, Inc for their support and thank them for giving me the opportunity, and all other Wabash men, of having an internship in our state.
Tyler Trepton ’16- Being from Northwest Indiana “The Region” it never occurred to me to extend my internship search past the Chicago land area. I started doing some research and saw the developing technology startup boom in the Indianapolis area, and I was sold. After doing some research I stumbled across Leonard-McDowell a small Indianapolis Tech Company with a list of previous interns, Ben Cook, Tyler Ownesby, Jared Valentine, and many more. After speaking to Jared a previous intern said the internship was an enjoyable learning opportunity.
Since my first day in May, Frank started the ball rolling quickly with Will and I for a busy and productive summer. It did not take long for me to realize that Frank is basically the man who knows everyone in Indianapolis. The different meetings and random meet ups he constantly found someone he knew allowing me to network and interact with people in the technology industry in Indianapolis. It has been a privilege to work with Frank and the rest of Leonard McDowell; I would like to thank them for accepting me as one of the interns for the summer, and providing me with a great learning experience.
So what have I been doing the past month? To start I have become Veeam VMSP and VTMSP certified to sell and market their product. Also, I have become Spiceworks certified or what they call a “Spicehead”. In addition, I have expanded my knowledge of Smartfile, Solidfire, and Scale Computing where I can help sell and market their product. On the other side of sales I am in the process of developing a technical chart for an app. Visit http://me.leonard-mcdowell.com/ for more information. Finally, I have had the opportunity to do a lot of networking in attending different events like VMUG, VTUG, Techpoint, and many more!
My favorite part of the internship so far was being able to experience the Indianapolis Strawberry Festival. Frank and I had a quick meeting at the Starbucks on Monument Circle, and after we headed for an early dessert before dinner. It was a beautiful day and a great experience I would never have experienced if it weren’t for Leonard McDowell.
To conclude, 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 the young Wabash men continue to pave their way to a successful future.
Adam Antalis ’16- I am within the fifth week of my eight-week summer internship at CineMagic – a small company based out of Griffith, Indiana. The company creates Hollywood style movie posters of sports teams, players, and events. Rich Ramirez Jr. started this company after he created one of these posters after he coached his son’s team to a baseball championship, and the idea was a hit. Since 2010, CineMagic Sportsline has grown to supply these posters to Pop Warner leagues, high schools and middle schools, travel baseball, softball and soccer organizations. Growing up in a heavy sporting environment, I was naturally drawn to this company, and thought the posters would have been a perfect way to preserve those memories. After applying to many internship positions I accepted this one because I wanted to work with something that I was interested in and something that would bring joy to its customers.
Chet Turnbeaugh ’14 played an essential role in the whole process of my internship, even from the very first phone interview. He decided not to inform me that he was currently at Wabash during the interview, which makes sense looking back. Chet has been my main resource while working with the company and has been a great person to work with during this whole process. The daily conversations, texts, and phone calls we exchange have allowed me to gain an enormous understanding of how an expanding, yet still small company functions. There is always something that can be done for a company like such. Whether my job is to gather contacts and compile data sheets, or to have personal interactions with the clients, I have constantly been doing different kinds of work which increases my understanding of the how the business runs.
I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment Fund for the opportunity to have a productive summer, and an experience that has been one of the biggest learning experiences of my life. Also, Wabash Career Services was great within the whole interview process, as I found many different opportunities through them. There is no doubt that this opportunity provided by the Lilly Endowment and Wabash, is one of the best I could have asked for.