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Building experiences for future talent

IMG_6704As summer winds down and students prepare for classes to begin, it is time for F.A. Wilhelm Construction (Wilhelm) and other companies employing interns to say goodbye to their young protégés.

It is estimated that anywhere between one to two million interns are employed throughout the summer in any given year in the United States. With this massive boost of labor comes eager minds ready to contribute to, and to learn from companies dedicated to their success.

Wilhelm has long understood the benefits brought by new talent, and has employed interns yearly in a variety of positions from field labor, to budgeting and estimating, to accounting and marketing. According to Phil Kenney, President of Wilhelm, hiring interns is a win-win situation because future workers get the opportunity to engage in real-world hands-on learning while trying on the company as a preferred place to work. And, Wilhelm gets to be challenged and energized by new thinking and a fresh perspective on how and why we do the things we do.

The interns, Kenney, Joseph Lansdell, Poynter president, and a panel of industry leaders including Frederick (Fritz) Herget of ARSEE Engineers, Bryan Poynter of Cushman & Wakefield, Mark Jacob of Citizens Energy Group, John Thompson of Thompson Distribution, First Electric Supply Company, CMID, and BC-SESCO; and moderator Debra Kunce of CORE Planning Strategies, gathered Friday, August 5th to co-share experiences and discuss next steps.

The event kicked-off with a presentation from Lansdell highlighting how Peer Group involvement benefits both well-established employers and newly liberated students, not only from an educational and professional growth, but also from networking and relationship development. He shared his own experiences with Peer Group engagement detailing how his business continues to benefit from other member perspectives.

After Lansdell’s presentation, interns were invited to introduce themselves and share individual experiences. Each person spoke about his/her school, field of study and what was learned during their summer of discovery.

The panel discussions commenced with questions from moderator Debra Kunce about industry trends, biggest challenges, what impresses employers most when interviewing, expectations of employees, and philanthropic dedication. Panelists offered interns real-life advice for future career paths including the importance of networking, being open to new experiences, and adapting and embracing to change. Fritz Herget of ARSEE engineers stressed the importance of taking risks and not being afraid to fail. The other panelists agreed, emphasizing that success and failure are interlinked components of learning and growth.

Mark Jacob, Vice President of Capital Programs and Engineering at Citizen’s Energy Group, articulated how important it is to employers that candidates have a “civic-minded” outlook. He discussed how engaging and caring for the community and the environment is vital to the success of us all. In strong agreement, all panelists echoed Jacob’s message sharing the many ways in which each represented company has a key priority to give back and enrich others through education, opportunities, organizational partnerships, days of service and financial support.

The event wrapped up with panelists fielding questions from interns – everything from what skills sets were most valuable, to the importance of work experience, to how to stay connected to networks.

After the event, Mark Jacob noted that “It was exciting to see so much up and coming talent, with obvious passion for entering the workforce in the near future.” John Thompson also added “This is a great group of young people and I truly believe the industry and the world are in strong hands.”

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