Wow did I have an interesting day this Friday.
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
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.
Corey Hoffman ’16
Corey Hoffman ’16 – One of the major aspects of the LABB program was the business plans. For each of the two business plans we had to develop, we were divided into teams and had to develop a fully functional business plan (or at least what we were able to produce within the time restriction). For the first business plan, the group was divided into teams of three, and each group was given the task of developing a business plan for a restaurant. The catch was, one group had to do a food truck, one a sit down restaurant, one a franchise, one a bar, one a deli, and the last a café. This wide range of options led to some amazing creativity, a trait that appeared rather absent in many students’ initial surveys. After two weeks of many dedicated hours of work, the day to present had arrived. We were to present in front of a panel of judges, who each had tens of thousands of dollars in “play money” in which they could invest however they pleased. My group, consisting of myself and Weston Gregg ’16, created a business plan for a food truck called Golden Boy Burgers, located in Lafayette, IN. We were able to obtain the most investment money due to our low startup costs.
Using our experience from this first business plan project, we divided into new groups of four or five to create a business plan for any business of our choosing. The four groups did a recording studio, a 3D printing company, a CrossFit gym, and a social media marketing company. All groups had greatly improved from the first set of business plans, despite having one week less to do it. Other than the fact that the group sizes were roughly double those of the restaurant business plans, we were all much more experienced and understood much better what needed to be done and how to do it.
Through these business plan projects, we were able to virtually immerse ourselves in real world business, by developing financial plans, marketing strategies, brand development, and product. While there is obviously much more detailed matter that we were unable to cover due to the time restrictions, we were all able to take away a lot from these experiences, and can eventually implement them into our careers.
I would like to give a huge thanks to the Lilly Foundation and Roland Morin ’91 for making this program possible and also to the judges of each business plan for providing helpful feedback.
Putko ’16 at work at CTS
Michael Putko ’16 – To this point in my internship at Commodity Transportation Services (through the Small Business Internship Fund) I have had a very enriching, interactive, and enjoyable experience. Initially coming into the internship I did not know anyone, but I have now developed a good relationship with all of my co-workers including the other Wabash interns. As freight brokers, communication and teamwork are key as we all must be on the same page with all the chaos that goes on. Essentially we are the middlemen between the shipper and the customer. For example, we will have a load of watermelons that needs to be dispatched to a store such as Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club and CTS finds the truck willing to do it, but only at the right price. Already in my short time working I have gained experience with customer service, problem solving, negotiating, and data entry. One of the most challenging parts of the job is that once the truck has been dispatched, you become responsible for it – meaning that if the load isn’t delivered on time and in the condition that it left the shipper then it is on you. To successfully do this one must keep consistent communication with the truck and schedule any necessary appointments. The office environment is pretty entertaining even with the strong focus and hard work that goes on. Most of all I have really enjoyed how supportive and helpful everyone is with each other. My co-workers often take the time out of their day to help one another learn and grow which isn’t even in their job description.