Fostering the next generation of brilliant minds, talented craftsmen and industry thought leaders is essential to the future of industrial manufacturing. Whether a student is learning a trade skill like machining and welding or studying engineering and business; getting experience before entering the work force is valuable and internships are a great way to gain that experience.
Each summer L&H Industrial hires student interns throughout various departments and locations. This program has curated relationships with universities and trade programs as well as helped foster education in young men and women currently studying. Often times, young L&H interns return for another summer of experience or even land their first job with the company after graduation.
This past summer L&H hosted interns studying mechanical engineering, business, supply-chain management, welding and computer science. A few L&H interns and their department managers discussed the internship experience.
Clark Christenson and Camdin Hinkel, mechanical engineering students from the University of Wyoming interned with L&H’s engineering department. Both commenting they received invaluable experience in understanding how theories and models are applied to practical strategy.
Christenson, who first became interested in mechanical engineering from a mentor who had previously worked in the energy and manufacturing industries. Christenson explained, “Growing up I loved building things out of legos and k’nex and discovering how things worked, so I thought I’d give the degree a try and I have fallen in love with it.” Now a senior, Christenson is preparing to land his first job, and feels his internship with L&H has helped him prepare.
“I learned so many things while interning at L&H; more than I can honestly count. I would have to say the most important thing I learned at L&H are the real world experiences, especially after interning in Canada on projects. It’s one thing to learn how something works while sitting in a class room, but you really don’t fully understand this until you actually get to go out and see it in person; it is truly amazing.” – Clark Christenson
Jamie Meinen, L&H Engineer and Canadian Account Manager, worked with Christenson on mine sites in the oil sands. Meinen explained, “Our engineering interns develop a wide range of skills when they are able get hands-on experience and actually see these massive machines in the field. All of these skills serve to develop the individual into a better-rounded engineer who understands how the role of engineering impacts the internal workings of the company as well as the direct impact to the customer and in the end, the bottom line for the company.” Bill Schroyer, L&H Industrial’s Engineering Manager added, “Many times interns are able to watch a product go from a drawing they have created, to an actual fabricated or machined part within our shop. As an engineer, seeing items that you designed be manufactured, and work as intended adds a lot of job satisfaction.”
Patrick Lester, a senior business major concentrating in supply chain management spent the summer working in L&H’s purchasing department. Lester commented on his appreciation of his mentor and supervisor at L&H, explaining, “My supervisor at L&H was a great mentor, he taught me a lot of great things and also challenged me with projects he assigned.”
Lester’s supervisor, Steve Keefer added, “Interns and companies both gain value from internship programs; Patrick was eager to learn about the fundamentals of purchasing/supply chain strategies and was a part of many projects. Likewise our company aided from many of the projects Patrick worked on, including developing a commodity code system. Patrick spent extensive time identifying parts and categorizing them appropriately.” Keefer said the department is now well on their way to developing the appropriate RFQ’s and getting the best value from our supply chain.
Jeremy Holwell, a junior studying computer science at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology spent his summer in L&H’s I.T. department. After taking a course in coding, he was hooked; he wanted to experience what a day in the life would be like in a career as a computer science professional and an internship provided that. Holwell described his experience interning with L&H’s I.T. department as a great way to experience different types of projects and collaborate with other team members. He believes the most important skill he learned was basic group policy functions. After graduation, Holwell wants to pursue a career in software development and is certain his experience at L&H has better equipped him for his career goals.
Steve Davis, I.T. Manager, worked with Holwell over the summer and believes internships provide great value to students. “A classroom is a controlled, simulated environment. Having a student apply what they’ve learned in a real world, unscripted atmosphere with real world consequences greatly compliments the knowledge they’ve gained from their studies.” Davis explained.
Education and industry collaborations
Consequently, it appears education and industry mutually benefit from internships and collaboration creates opportunities for both. Further yet, collaboration with education adds an additional layer of value to the relationship experience between industry and education. Schroyer, commented on his experiences over the years hosting interns in his department and collaborating with education, “There are definite benefits to forming relationships with universities and trade schools. Many of our independent analysis are performed by a professor at a University. This relationship is crucial to obtaining help on items that we do not have the laboratory capabilities for, or in some cases the knowledge to explain. Likewise Keefer added, “I absolutely believe that companies and schools working together is a tremendous benefit to both companies and educational institutions. The companies benefit from the new concepts that are being taught and education benefits from the company’s current opportunities and challenges in order to steer the curriculum in a direction that addresses those opportunities and challenges. This brings industry and education more in tune with each other.”
Additionally, L&H contributes to advisory boards for many technical education programs and colleges. As an industry provider, L&H is able to guide the curriculum based on industry needs and students are given a chance to network with industry leaders. Joel Christophersen, General Manager for L&H’s Tempe, AZ manufacturing facility added, “We also try to donate supplies to the technical programs and prepare students for entering the work force by offering help with resumes and interview skills.”
L&H has hosted student interns for many years; some of those students are a part of the company today and help lead engineering innovations, project management, and the company’s safety program. Human Resources and Safety Director, Tyler McLaughlin concluded,
“We believe it is important for all companies to be active members in education; they are our future and we are proud to help educate and mentor young minds. We are committed to education and will continue to host interns and collaborate with education for many years to come.”