• Brad Aldrich

Internship Program Creates Pride

“I wish we had an expert for that” is a common phrase heard around many companies, especially start-ups. At OcuGlass, we came up with a creative way to find experts and it has proven to be a good way to deal with the problem.

For the last four years our company has trusted and relied on college student talent to provide support and solutions in a variety of areas at our acid-etched glass manufacturer. Being in a community that has a public university, a private university, and a community college, we saw the opportunity to recruit students who could bring a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to our company. There are also local students who attend

colleges around the country who want to spend their summers in the beautiful Copper Country.

Like I have said, “The idea of utilizing these bright minds has been crucial in the development and growth of our company. These students not only bring knowledge in their field, but they come in with great energy and new ideas every time they walk through the door.”

OcuGlass ensures that the interns are paid and that they have schedules that are flexible so their classwork, extracurriculars, and family take priority. I believe that while their work for us is important, it is more important that they are focused on school, participating in their community, and spending breaks and free time

with their families.

In the course of this program, OcuGlass has had sixteen interns from Michigan Tech University, Finlandia University, Gogebic Community College,

Northern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Michigan State University, and Arizona State University. Fields of study have ranged from Marketing to Finance to various engineering fields including Mechanical, Environmental, and Chemical.

Nine of the former, or current, interns are completing their undergraduate studies. Current Mechanical Engineering Intern Andrew Rose will graduate in May from Michigan Tech and has been accepted to Graduate School in the field of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my OcuGlass experience. Unlike other internships, I was treated like a real engineer and entrusted with responsibilities that both

challenged and excited me.”

Rose has been involved with a collaboration project with Dollar Bay High School in which he works with the students there to design and 3-D print crucial parts for the production line at OcuGlass. Because of this project, we no longer need to order generic parts from Italy, which has saved time, money and headaches. Andrew added, “My biggest highlight has been the collaboration between OcuGlass and the high school. Helping high schoolers learn the engineering design process while also helping OcuGlass stay on the cutting edge of glass etching has been a very cool experience.”

Danny Hill was an Intern in the summer of 2018.

Danny Hill is working on his undergraduate degree in Dental Hygiene at Ferris State University, while Caleb Carlson and Jonathan Bostwick are continuing their education in Business at Gogebic Community College. Raymond Brice (Civil Engineering), Andrew Christenson (Chemical Engineering), Nick Gedda (Marketing), and Landon Overesch (Environmental Engineering) are at Michigan Tech and Kyle Hauswirth (Software Engineering) is studying at Arizona State.

“The opportunity to work in a real-world setting at OcuGlass while I worked towards my undergraduate degree at Michigan Tech was something that I am very thankful for. I was able to be part of a team of hard-working people who included me and valued my input, while helping me grow as a marketer and a person” said Gedda.

While some are still in school, seven former interns have graduated and moved on to start great careers. Brendan Jacques, a former Business Intern, has become an entrepreneur and started two new companies, Portage Paddle Sports and Hockey Guys, while helping to run Center Ice Skate & Sport. Brian Fisk, a Chemical Intern, is now an Area Manager for Zee Water and Energy in Atlanta, while Zach Hill, who interned in the business office, is

following his hockey passion as the Director of Hockey Operations at Michigan Tech. Nic Stoll, a former Michigan Tech basketball player and OcuGlass Chemical Engineering Intern, is now working in Chicago as a Technical Field Advisor for Honeywell UOP.

Locally, former Finance Intern Tony Fisher, is now a Financial Advisor at Ameriprise in Houghton. Fisher commented, “OcuGlass gave me real life insight into business cash flows, accounting practices, and using custom Excel modeling in a real setting. Outside of finance, I was able to observe and be a part of departmental interactions, business relationships, and production flow.”

Tanner Kearly, now a Materials Planner with Honeywell Aerospace in Arizona, said “OcuGlass provided me the opportunity to get my feet wet in Supply Chain Management in a fast-paced manufacturing atmosphere wrapped inside of a close-knit culture that made it fun to come to work.”

“My time at OcuGlass gave me great insight into many aspects of business because the flat organizational structure allowed me to work with the people at the top every day. I was also able to build entrepreneurial skills while working on projects that I was passionate about. Without this experience I wouldn’t have gained the skills necessary for a career on Wall Street” said Alex Hill, now a Risk Trader at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York City.

OcuGlass plans to continue to recruit and work with college student talent in all areas of their business. I tell people, we are proud of the program that has unfolded, and we are extremely grateful for the efforts and contributions of the interns. Mostly, though, we are proud of what these students have accomplished in the classroom, their careers, and in their communities. They will always be a part of Team OG and they know that.

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