Grove City College Provides Foundation for Business WorldGrove City College has made lasting impressions on alumni that go far beyond the classroom.
Calvin Wijnhamer, a graduate of ’10 with a major in Business Management and a minor in Religion, said that the College did an excellent job in preparing him for his career. A Licensed Personal Banker at JP Morgan Chase, Wijnhamer works both for Chase retail banking as well as Chase Investment Services Corp, working face-to-face with clients assisting them with their accounts, conveniences, credit cards, investments, and loans.
According to Wijnhamer, one of the most valuable lessons he learned while at the College is developing a strong work ethic.
“Grove City College’s rigorous academics prepare you to be disciplined in your approach to work,” Wijnhamer said. “I have found time and time again the success I gained by working hard in the classroom translates to your everyday work life.”
Wijnhamer said that the College instilled in him a faith-based foundation even more valuable than the tests taken, grades given, and papers written.
“I also learned at my time at Grove City College that without a firm foundation in our faith in Jesus Christ, school, work, and everything else is meaningless,” Wijnhamer said. “I am so thankful for my many professors at Grove City College and think so fondly of the conversations inside and outside of class that taught me to keep Christ at the center which has prepared me for a career with one of the largest, most successful corporations in the world.”
Like Wijnhamer, alumni Daniel Croce has been able to apply valuable skills that he acquired at the College and applied them to his career.
Croce, a graduate of ’08 with a major in International Business and concentrations in French and Finance, currently works at Birchmere Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in up-and- coming or start-up companies. He maintains the position of controller which is a finance-based position that includes an array of tasks such as overseeing back office operations, communicating with investors, and overseeing accounting for the company.
Along with learning the fundamentals of business and finance, Croce also developed his interpersonal skills through campus activities such as Orientation Board, playing the piano for the campus ministry Warriors for Christ, and being a Resident Assistant.
At Grove City, he found himself “interacting with a lot of different people,” Croce said. This helped him “develop a strong ability to connect with and understand people.”
While a student, Croce also worked on business plans for people in Africa which, in turn, opened his eyes to the fact that business needs to be a fluid process. “The number one skill that I took away from Grove City College was how to connect with people from different backgrounds and to be able to put myself in their shoes,” Croce said. “So much of the business world is relating and connecting to other people.”
Rosetta + Grove City CollegeRosetta, an interactive marketing agency headquartered in Princeton, NJ, specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), online paid search, analytics and optimization for websites, creating creative customer web experiences, and designing e-commerce sites for their clients. Advertising Age recently named Rosetta the “Top Agency to Watch” in 2011.
Grove City College enjoys a unique relationship with Rosetta, which has numerous GC alumni in recent years. Julie Fratus, one of Rosetta’s College Recruiters, states that “Grove City is very important to us [Rosetta]. The students are different from the other places we recruit”- Carnegie, Columbia, and Princeton to name a few. She described how the strong work ethic and the ability Grove City students have to pick things up quickly and learn in a collaborative group is a rare and valuable asset that is not easily found. According to Julie, the quality of work and character that Rosetta receives from Grove City students has set the bar for finding other recruits at Rosetta. In addition to hiring Grove City students, Rosetta has also provided many summer internships opportunities as well.
Benjamin “B.J.” Bellamy (‘12) interned with Rosetta this past summer. As a Junior Associate, B.J. was responsible for clerical efforts, like weekly reporting, as well as technical tasks, such as SEO. After learning the basics of content syndication and direct link requests, B.J. was able to put these tactics into practice and gain some very useful experience. He states, “These jobs gave me experience with real-world tasks and strategies in the context of a professional consulting agency, something I would not have received in the other internships I considered.”
The recruiters at Rosetta appreciate Grove City because of its quality students and graduates, and the GC alumni who work at Rosetta appreciate Grove City because of how it prepared them for their careers. Jenette Manning (‘07), a Senior Associate at Rosetta, is grateful for how Grove City taught her to be strong in her Christian faith and hold true to her principles in the business world. She states that “GCC has provided me with a solid foundation, which is crucial in this industry.” Similarly, Jayna Grassel (‘11), Search & Media Associate, passionately expresses gratitude toward Grove City and how it has prepared her. She relates how the work ethic and ability to communicate within a team environment, developed through many class projects in her time at GCC, have proven to be a huge benefit to her in her current position, helping to set Jayna up for a successful career.
The unique relationship between Grove City College and Rosetta is mutually beneficial and one that both parties hope will continue to thrive moving forward.
Alumni & Nuclear SubmarinesAlum Noah Ketterman gives credit to the College for providing him with a strong foundation that he has carried into his career. A graduate of ‘08 with a degree in Marketing, Ketterman is now lead recruiter in the Human Resources department at Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc.
Bechtel is a contractor for the United States Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. They are a project engineering organization responsible for providing design, manufacturing, and procurement management for the fabrication, testing, delivery, installation, and field support of high quality nuclear power plant components for installation in submarines and aircraft carriers.
Ketterman said that the College prepared him well for his position. “I have used aspects of all of my undergraduate courses while doing the work I have been doing at my company,” Ketterman said. “Additionally, Grove City College prepared me well for graduate school which, quite honestly, was much easier than coursework at GCC.” He added that the College provided a well-rounded, solid base that not only prepared him professionally but spiritually as well.
“I needed to understand what it meant to weave faith into every aspect of my life,” Ketterman said. “Without that education, both scholastically and spiritually, I would likely be fumbling my way through life without a real direction.”
Ketterman is not alone in his feelings since leaving the College.
Jordan Benis, a 2010 graduate from the College with a degree in Business Economics and Finance is another one of the numerous Grove City alumni that work at Bechtel. Benis is a contract specialist responsible for managing the contracts for nuclear equipment to be used on Navy vessels. He spends a lot of time interfacing with personnel from other companies and providing oversight to ensure that all contractual provisions are observed.
Benis said that the College provided him with a wealth of business knowledge and prepared him for his career in many different ways. “GCC has weaved a moral Christian perspective into its entire curriculum which has prepared me to face challenging moral dilemmas,” Benis said. “I feel this preparation not only makes me a more ethical business-person, but it also has allowed me to build a better rapport with those I work with.”
The College has also prepared Benis for his job in the workforce through forcing him to learn a large amount of information in a short amount of time. “Being able to learn new information and systems in a quick and efficient manner is an invaluable skill in business, considering that most of the knowledge necessary to perform many positions is learned on the job,” Benis said.
Being a transfer student to the College Benis said he was able to appreciate the unique learning atmosphere that the College offers. According to Benis, the unique Christian atmosphere distinguishes the College from many other colleges and universities and provides graduates with a strong when entering the job market.
“The high level of engagement and interaction with students, faculty, administration, and alumni while at GCC prepared me to tackle a number of challenges that I have encountered in the workplace,” Benis said. “The most important lesson I learned while at GCC is that although we all operate in competitive environments, we must always view both our position and our day-to-day work in its proper context.”
Sammi Soriano (’10) Makes Way in a Human Resource CareerFrom looking for a job herself to now recruiting other employees, Sammi Soriano has quickly moved up in the workforce since graduating from Grove City College in May 2010. Sammi is the sole recruiter for manufacturing company Spang & Company. She is responsible for coordinating the hiring process not only in the company’s Pennsylvania and Ohio sites, but in China as well. Sammi’s duties include determining the company’s hiring needs, advertising available positions, conducting initial interviews with candidates, negotiating offers, and much more. She also oversees campus recruiting, attending Career Fairs to recruit graduating electrical engineers or interns for various departments in the company.
Sammi majored in Business Management at Grove City. In addition to her major requirements, she also selected a mix of communication and psychology courses. Sammi explains how “this was a great blend to expose me to the many aspects of HR,” helping prepare her to answer her calling in Human Resources. She encourages those students who also feel called to a career in HR career to join organizations like SHRM (the Society of Human Resources Management) to learn about educational opportunities and what is up-and-coming in the industry, or the PHRA (Pittsburgh Human Resources Association) to develop networking opportunities.
When asked what she thinks of Grove City College and how it has prepared her for her career, Sammi responded that she is “very proud to be a Grove City alumna,” and that she felt ready to take on her leading role in the HR department. She hears “time and time again from co-workers, other recruiters and other businesses,” that Grove City students are “heads-and-shoulders” above many other candidates they encounter. “Grove City does an excellent job of preparing graduates in not only their line of study, but [also in] how to manage projects, work diligently, present themselves professionally, and give general respect to others,” says Sammi. She loves Grove City and the career field it has led her to, and would be happy to others who are interested in a Human Resource career.
Alumni Brings Christian Foundation to WorkplaceSarah Rutt, a 2007 graduate, is Senior Financial Analyst at Hope International; a Christian nonprofit organization focused on alleviating physical and spiritual poverty through microenterprise development. Her job entails managing monthly reporting, financial performance, quarterly reforecasting for the organization, and organizing the budget.
Rutt recognizes her unique situation to be presented with such great opportunities. “I’ve been really blessed and have had an amazing experience,” Rutt said. “I’ve worked through neat organizational growth and change, learning a wide range of things.”
Despite the fact that Rutt is busy with her work career, she does not forget the lasting impact that the College has had on her both spiritually and professionally. “[Grove City College] taught me that it’s really important to integrate Christianity into all areas of life and understand finance as a Christian,” Rutt said.
According to Rutt the strong Christian foundation that the College provided is what stays with her the most today. Rutt said that she specifically remembers her freshman year during one of the first weeks of school a professor opened up in prayer which has had a lasting impression on her. “I really love the friendships that I developed there and being able to live so close to other Christians,” Rutt said.
As a student, Rutt immersed herself in various activities. Some of them included being a member of the Accounting club, Sign Language club, Crown and Scepter, and also being an RA in the apartments.
In addition to extra-curricular activities Rutt completed an independent study with Dr. Mech. Rutt said that Dr. Mech was the one who introduced her to micro-finance which in turn was a career push and a key part to her development. When looking back at her years at the College Rutt realizes how her Christian education helped her develop a Christian worldview.
“[Grove City College] helped me to develop my faith into everything I do,” Rutt said. “I have learned what it means to be a Christian [in the work world] and how to respond to the needs of the world,” Rutt said.
Erica Heerschap ('08) Applies Business Lessons in PeruPeace Corps volunteer and Grove City graduate Erica Heerschap (’08) recently returned from Humacchuco, Peru where she spent the last two years working with the local Quechua-speaking indigenous people. The small town borders the Huascaran National Park, and is developing in the area of tourism.
While in Peru, Erica’s work focused on teaching. She taught English, promoted healthy habits, counseled local tourism associations on good business practices, taught social studies to young children, and provided education about environmental concerns. One of her most poignant accomplishments was being told by a father that “he wanted his daughter to grow up just like me.” Erica’s other accomplishments include teaching people how to bake cakes, getting children to wash their hands and brush their teeth, and helping a tourism association develop a business plan.
According to Erica, “almost all the classes I took during my time at GCC have proved a useful source of knowledge applied somewhere”, though she found Dr. Powell’s marketing class very helpful in her work with local business, and Dr. Christie’s negotiations class prepared her for bargaining. Despite some language barriers and cultural adjustments, Erica was able to build solid relationships with the local people. Her most rewarding accomplishment was that “after two years, the village considered me one of their own.”
Former IB Major Makes Cakes for PupsFor Kelly Chaney, working for a large company never held much of an appeal. Instead, she decided to go out and start her own business. She now owns and runs her own puppy cake mix company.
Chaney’s “light bulb moment” for the business came when she was working for a sales and marketing firm. One of her clients made cake mix for people, and Kelly thought “wouldn’t it be great if they made that for dogs?”
Kelly immediately went about developing her product, acquiring the necessary business licenses, and letting the public know about her unique product. Nothing was easy, however. She faced many obstacles and hard times. “Getting ahold of boxes and a website were probably the biggest obstacles…both were a large financial investment,” Chaney said.
After the initial costs and set up fees, Kelly began to see some success. She started with one product flavor, and has now added another flavor: peanut butter.
This success hasn’t been easy, but it has been affirming. “In small ways, I see success with repeat orders and loyal customers…in bigger ways, I see the increase in my sales and accounts,” Chaney said.
Kelly believes that a lot of skills that made her successful at GCC have translated pretty well to the business world. “My education was my business then, and I ran it how I saw fit…I had to be determined, disciplined, competitive and autonomous,” remarked Chaney.
For many, starting your own business by going out on a huge entrepreneurial limb may not be the way you want to go, but for Chaney, it has been a pretty gig. “Being an entrepreneur was a more natural fit than working “for the man,” Kelly said.
GCC Alum Finds Success with Public Relations FirmIf working in public relations with brands such as Callaway Golf, ESPN and [yellow tail] wines sounds intriguing, then welcome to the world of Jen Mercer (Jen Wiley ’09).
Jen works for Catalyst Public Relations, a firm that specializes in sports and lifestyle brands. In her position as an account coordinator, a few of her day-to-day activities include writing press releases and developing relationships between brands, media, and consumers.
“In my position, we form partnerships with companies, pitch their stories to all kinds of media, host events, and get the word out about a company’s developments and new products,” said Jen.
Jen believes that her GCC education played a central role in helping her obtain her position and be successful in it. “I have a unique perspective because I came with a holistic approach to business.” Jen continued, “Grove City College helped me understand how all the elements of business work together, and through that knowledge I’ve been able to implement them in my current job,” said Jen.
“The hardest part about my job is working with different personalities; you have to learn how to deal with people accordingly; also, it’s a fast-paced work environment and you have lots of things thrown at you,” Jen mentioned.
When asked about an important tip to leave to other students, Jen mentioned that networking is crucial. “Be sure to talk to people and get your name out; after making contacts, be sure to keep in touch,” Mercer said. “In order to be successful in my field, you also have to learn to manage time well.”
If you are looking for advice in joining the public relations industry, you can contact Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marketing in the 21st Century: Delinda Tinkey (05')Delinda Tinkey, a 2005 graduate of Grove City College, has done quite well since her first job with an advertising agency, and is now happily employed at NextGen Healthcare.
Tinkey heard about her first advertising job on the internet and was there for about 1.5 years before transitioning to her current position with NextGen Healthcare.
NextGen Healthcare is a leading provider of electronic health records and practice management software. As Associate Marketing Project Manager, Delinda is involved in e-marketing projects such as webinars, lead scoring, lead nurturing, and email campaigns.
Delinda enjoys working in an interactive, constantly changing environment, as well as utilizing state-of-the-art software, including Salesforce.com and Marketo. Much time is spent in conferences and meetings discussing the sales process. One thing is for sure: every day brings new and exciting challenges!
Finding the right balance at Federated Insurance: Patrick Donahue’s experiencePatrick Donahue (’04) never thought he’d be in insurance. His father was in the industry for 30 years and he didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps. But that all changed when he heard about Federated Insurance.
Donahue learned of Federated while in Mr. Biddle’s Risk and Insurance course his junior year at GCC. Given the chance to hear from a risk consultant and regional manager, he became more interested in the prospect of working in insurance. After an extensive interview process (including months of dialogue with the hiring manager, days spent shadowing local risk consultants and a trip to the headquarters), Mr. Donahue was brought on board at Federated.
His secret to success? He largely credits GCC’s culture of hard work. “The academics at GCC are great. The work ethic I had at college transferred to my job with Federated,” says Donahue. But the learning didn’t stop after graduation. Federated has an extensive, 6-month training program for their risk consultants which includes quizzes and tests. The hard work paid off once he got to his territory.
Donahue enjoys the variety of his job the most. “It’s nice to do something new every day. My boss doesn’t micromanage me, but lets me do my job. It’s nice to hear when companies say they enjoy working with Federated and want to be insured by us,” says Donahue.
Regardless of your career path, Mr. Donahue believes that you should research the companies you’re interested in and the “little things that make a difference” like making a good first impression. “Be sure to interview the interviewer; take a hard look at the position and ask questions to be sure about the job,” Donahue says.
If you’re interested in Federated Insurance as a potential employer, be sure to stop by their booth at the Career Fair, which takes place on October 13 in the IM room. Mr. Donahue will be present, and he’d love to talk to you about the company that has had such a big impact on him.