Monthly Archive for November, 2011

Internship Spotlight: Richard Rose, Oshkosh Defense

Richard Rose, Oshkosh Defense

About Oshkosh Corporation

Oshkosh Defense is part of Oshkosh Corporation which is a medium and large specialty vehicle manufacturer.  The corporation is based out of Oshkosh, Wisconsin and has several manufacturing plants within the Fox Valley.  They also own Pierce, JLG, and McNeilus to help keep their market and product offering diversified.

In particular they produce military vehicles for the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, and many other countries around the world.  The vehicles range from small armored trucks that can be used for SWAT teams or VIP protection to massive tractor trailers that can transport a tank or other large equipment.

My Role within Oshkosh Corporation

Oshkosh Corporation provides its customer as an “augmentation” force, for maintenance and service, rather than a “replacement” force. In addition the IPS group offers field service support throughout OCONUS. In my position I support both the CONUS and OCONUS efforts.

My responsibilities include but are not limited to Service Work Order (SWO) preparation and Secondary Reparable preparation in support of Marine Corp Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) Service work. Additionally, I update tracking information and submit financial pricing requests to the internal OSK managers.

I have also had the opportunity to grow professionally while at Oshkosh Defense.  Throughout the year, they offer different training programs to help with everything from how to manage your time better, to hands on time with the vehicles my team supports.

I also had the chance to sit down with my hiring managers and get feedback from them on my interview and my resume. This gave me a lot of insight on what they were looking at during the interview, but these are skills that I will have to practice later because after graduation I have a full time position waiting for me here at Oshkosh Defense.

Insights and Takeaways

The events that UW Oshkosh puts on for the College of Business students are highly beneficial if utilized correctly.  I was able to secure the interview and then the position through networking and interfacing with Oshkosh Corporation Human Resources Representatives at Networking Night and the Career Fair on the Fox.

If you go into these events prepared and ready to make a positive impression, the return on this time investment is amazing.

Everyone you talk to will have a different definition and group of mentors.  The big thing I’ve learned during my time at Oshkosh Defense and the United States Navy is that everyone around you can be a mentor in one way or another.

At the end of the day it does not matter if a peer has taught you something that should be emulated or something that should be avoided every piece of information has value.

However, you should definitely find a mentor or mentors that can help advise you in ways you can further your career.

Internship Spotlight: Ben Robers, Miller Electric

Ben Robers, Operations Intern, Miller Electric

Miller Electric: The Company

Miller Electric is a Wisconsin based company that manufactures arc welding and cutting equipment. Created in 1929, it was a family owned company until 1993 when Miller formed an alliance with ITW (Illinois Tool Works).

Still holding the ideals of a family owned company, Miller has an average tenure of 19+ years! It is not uncommon for multiple generations to be employed at Miller (in my business unit alone there are three families like this).

Community involvement is also a big part of the culture at Miller and volunteerism is wide spread, with 92% employee participation in the United Way, you can tell it is a point of pride for the organization.

My Background

I have worked at Miller Electric since graduating high school on the floor and have had the chance to get to know a lot of the people I work with over the past few years. I think this gave me an added advantage coming into the internship, knowing the personalities and having a smooth adjustment to the office.

The Internship

I am the Operations Intern for Miller Electric’s Mechanical Components business unit, I found out about the internship while I was working on the floor last Christmas. Our Material Coordinator (now my boss) came up to me while I was working and started talking about what I was going for and eventually led to an interview for this position. I was hired and started my internship in April of this year; my advantage over other applicants was my knowledge of the business unit and good reputation in the company.


I would have to say the biggest challenge so far has been managing the job and my school work. It is stressful to say the least with commuting back and forth to Appleton while living in Oshkosh. Other than that there is the fact that I am only part time so working on projects I have to get as much done when I have the chance to work with other people since I am only there three days out of the week.

What I’ve Learned

I think the most applicable thing I have learned from this internship is how to act, speak and conduct myself in a business setting. I do many things at my job, but no jobs are going to be exactly the same so, the etiquette I have learned I can carry into any interview or business setting and hold myself like I should be there.  Also, being prompt and timely in responding I found will really help your chances of getting the same goodwill back towards you in the future.

Internship Spotlight: Ellie Nicksic, Harley Davidson Motor Company

Ellie Nicksic, Human Resources Major

Harley-Davidson Motor Company was founded in 1903, right here in Wisconsin. When I first heard of the Human Resources Co-op opportunity at their Tomahawk operations, I was somewhat hesitant to apply. This co-op would require me to relocate to Tomahawk, and involve pushing my graduation date back a semester. I had to sit down and weigh out the pros and cons; after much thought, I decided to apply. One phone screening, one long drive to Tomahawk, and one very exciting phone call from corporate headquarters later, I had landed an awesome opportunity with Harley-Davidson.

Connecting with other Co-ops

One of my biggest hesitations with this co-op was the relocation part. Tomahawk WI is a town of approximately 3,500 people.  I wasn’t at all concerned about living in a small town since I am from an even smaller town myself, but I was concerned about having friends when I was here. I was re-assured that there would be other co-ops working at Harley-Davidson and living in Tomahawk.

We currently have 10 co-ops; 1 in Supply Chain, 1 in HR, and 8 in Engineering.  I am almost surprised at how well we get along considering that we come from different backgrounds, schools, and even states. Having the other co-ops here has made my experience that much more enjoyable.

We typically get together one night a week and find something to do on Saturdays.  We also have a sort of “bond” at work when it comes to helping each other out. Although most of us do not work directly with each other, we tend to lend a helping hand whenever we can. This is something that can be said company wide as well; as Harley-Davidson greatly promotes a team environment.

What I’ve Learned

It didn’t take me long to realize that I had made the right decision in accepting this co-op. In the 2 ½ months I have been here I have exponentially increased my knowledge of the numerous area’s of Human Resources.

I have recruited at 3 career fairs, participated in over 15 salaried, contract, and co-op interviews, pre-screened well over 400 resumes, assisted in the hiring of 33 hourly employees, and so much more. I am thankful to work for a company that puts so much trust in a co-op and gives me exempt level experience.

I feel respected not only in my department, but company wide. I have had the area manager ask my opinion on applicants and consider my responses as a valid, competent answers; not just one of a “co-op”.

My advice for others

Overall I am happy that I took a chance on this co-op opportunity. As I reflect back on the amount of knowledge I’ve gained in just the few months I’ve been here, I feel incredibly lucky to have been presented with such an opportunity.

I am getting full-time hands on experience in a union/manufacturing environment and couldn’t be happier about my experiences thus far. Harley-Davidson is a company that I would definitely recommend working for.

Internship Spotlight: Mo Ranpara, Voith Paper Inc.

Mo Ranpara (Far Right), Tax Intern, Voith Paper Inc.

I am currently a Tax Intern at Voith Paper Inc. in Appleton, Wisconsin. Voith is a multinational company that has been in existence for almost 200 years. Headquartered in Heidenheim, Germany, Voith started as a small family owned business, still privately held, now has operations in over 50 countries, and employs over 40,000 employees. Last year, Voith had annual sales of 5.3 billion euro’s and net income of 121 million euro’s. Voith operates in the following four different industries: Hydro, Turbo, Industrial services and Paper.

My duties at Voith are based more on a regional scale. The Tax Department at Voith is in charge of all North American tax returns including Canada and Mexico. Overall, we are in charge of approximately 30 Federal tax returns and 50 State returns annually. Furthermore, the work load varies depending on mergers and acquisitions carried out during the year.

My internship at Voith has given me an opportunity to carry out many tasks that are relevant to a multinational company’s tax department. I have had the opportunity of working with quarterly installment payments, tax provisions, fixed assets, special projects that relate to new tax laws, and the tax, fixed asset and accounting software. The experience I am gaining so far in this internship is beyond words.

The most important aspect of this internship has been the inclusion of my UW Oshkosh course work. My course work has played an important role in assisting me to analyze, interpret and communicate financial information. The amount of course work relating to corporate taxes I have applied in this internship is unbelievable. Also, not only that, my supervisors personally ensured that I gained exposure in every different aspect of the departments tax procedures and relay it to what I learned in class. Repeatedly, my supervisors would involve me in new projects as well as ask for feedback on how well I understood a certain area. Moreover, the department encouraged me to make suggestions every now and then based on their tax models and methods.

Beyond my duties and responsibilities, lies another aspect, my supervisors. This internship could not have been a better experience than what it is, if it was not for my supervisors. The department consists of four individuals including myself. The work load is pretty heavy during busy times; however, my supervisors will always find a way to ease the pressure. They have been very understanding and accommodating.

One of the benefits of this full-time co-op was that I was treated as a full-time employee and not just an “intern”. It is simply a great feeling! My supervisors ensured I was involved in day to day decisions and projects. Furthermore, I also attended some tax seminars on behalf of the organization which turned out to be a great networking opportunity, being the only intern present.

My experience at Voith has been priceless! The experience and knowledge I gained through this internship is something that has been very fruitful. With everything this internship has had to offer, the support accorded to me by my supervisors will always be cherished. This is one of the best experiences I will walk away with! I now know that I have made the right career choice, thanks to Voith!


Internship Spotlight: Matt Harris, Oshkosh Defense


Matt Harris, Oshkosh Defense Team Coordinator

Company Overview: Oshkosh Defense

Oshkosh Defense manufactures a variety of military vehicles for the United States and countries around the world. The vehicles produced at Oshkosh Defense range from light-wheeled tactical vehicles that allow soldiers to maneuver around the battlefield to heavy-duty equipment and load carrying vehicles that are capable of transporting everything from fuel to tanks.

Recently, Oshkosh Defense was awarded a contract to produce the family of medium-tactical-vehicles (FMTV) for the US Army. The FMTVs are a large part of the Army’s operational and logistical strategy plan, and with Oshkosh as the model’s sole manufacturer, it is an exciting time to be a part of the company.

Finding and Starting My Internship

I had applied to Oshkosh Defense in prior semesters for internships, but was unable to land a position. Even though I was passed over by other candidates, I remained determined and optimistic that my efforts in the classroom and my prior active-duty military experience would soon land me an opportunity. All I needed was a position that allowed me to put to use not only the skills I learned from school but my natural leadership abilities as well. I soon received a call from Defense HR about an opening for a team coordinator co-op and was asked if I wanted to interview for the position. I had not originally applied for the position and was taken aback by the opportunity. I went into the interview determined to land a role with the company and was offered the job two days later.

I began my position in June at the company’s paint facility, i.e., west plant. As a team coordinator, my job requires direct supervision of union workers, many of whom have decades of experience. I was a little nervous to say the least about directing people to do a job in which I had no clue about. Over the first few days, I quickly learned the “ins and outs” of the business and got to know as many people as possible. After about a month and a half, I grew into my position and felt as though I was a viable asset to the company. I learned how to do the basics of my job, the people to go to with problems or questions, and made it a routine to learn something new every day.

Defining My Role

At Oshkosh I am responsible for coordinating the combined efforts of several different job classes to paint and prepare military trucks for the final sales floor. I organize a schedule of trucks that need to be painted and see that they enter the paint process. As the trucks go through the paint process, I look out for quality related concerns and ensure that workers follow their tasks. With a combined effort from coordinators and union workers, trucks that pass all final inspections for paint quality can be delivered to the sales floor.

After five months on the job, I feel that I am on par with full-time coordinators and can be moved around interchangeably. Oshkosh is really good at treating its interns as full-time employees. Because of my experience at Oshkosh Defense so far, I believe that I can be relied on to solve real-life problems and can handle them in a decisive manner.

Internship Spotlight: Salvatore Lazaro, Walt Disney World

Salvatore Lazaro, Human Resources Major

The Application and Role

The application process for my position was extremely long.  I applied on and filled out a long application.  After my application, I had an interview over the phone with a recruiter from Disney.

Three months later, I was chosen to be the employment team’s next intern.  Before applying I went on the internship website and checked out all their information.  I talked to a recruiter from Disney when he was on campus and got more information.  Also, the Disney College Program I did prior to my internship gave me more information about the company.

I started my internship in June and it ends in January. On a typical day, I get into the office at 7:45AM and start my computer.  Then I turn on the computers in the lab that are used for applications. I turn on the TV’s in the lobby and after that, it is time for me to open the casting doors at 8am.

Most of my days consist of me checking people in for their appointments.  I also go to the computer lab and help people though the applications.  Sometimes I sit in with the recruiter during an interview. My day ends at 4:15PM; I log off my computer and sign out for the day.

I was well informed about my internship.  I knew what to expect when going into the position.

The Experience

Walt Disney World Casting Center

Walt Disney World Casting Center

I felt excited about going into my internship. Not only was this my first Human Resources position, but I got into a Fortune 500 company!

My courses from UW-Oshkosh have helped me in my internship. Most of my business practices were already taught to me by my professors. My professor also showed me how to create a resume and make sure I stand out. The most important thing of all they taught me how to network with managers.

The challenge I face at Disney, is because the company is so large, it is a struggle to be noticed. I work harder then I have at any other job by taking extra responsibilities to make sure that the manager notices me.

The values I bring to every company are my strong work ethic and communication skills.  I feel to be a strong leader it requires you to not only have good communication, but also to be a good listener.  If you work hard you are setting a good example for your peers.

Now working for Disney, I think it has opened up positions in the future.  Maybe not with Disney, but a lot of companies will look at Disney on my resume and know that I have worked and been trained by the best.

The shocking thing I have learned on my internship is learning additional languages will make a difference in your life.  Here at Disney, there are many employees that speak different languages, you have to find a way to communicate and without an additional language skills it is difficult.

Internship Spotlight: Katie Krause, Appleton Sign Company

Katie Krause, Human Resources & Supply Chain and Operations Management Majors


Appleton Sign Company has been in business for 75 years and is continuing to grow with the ever changing needs for business advertisement.  Our specialty is all custom made signage from vehicle or window graphics to large message centers and everywhere in between.

On site we have our own artists to help design a company’s dream signage and it will be brought to life in our own fabrication shop and then installed by our installation crews.  From start to finish Appleton Sign Company can help virtually any small to large organization represent their company with custom work.

I obtained my internship by starting with Appleton Sign Company as their Administrative and Sales Support and then lead into their Human Resources and Business Intern while maintaining my other responsibilities.

In the six months that I have been with the company, I have grown to understand the sign industry better, along with how a small business runs.  My responsibilities here range anywhere from answering the phone and entering applicant information to conducting in-person interviews.

The business portion of my internship is a bit more variable; I can be working on our accounting entry and collections, or with the production team entering new work orders to be created.  All in all being a smaller company helps to give me a wide perspective of how all of the departments work together and how much everyone needs to work together to make everything work effectively.

This internship overall has taught me that I do want to stay focused on smaller businesses in my future in Human Resources.  I enjoy that everyone knows everyone and are almost like a family, not just coworkers.  Along with the size of the industry, I would like to focus on this internship has also shown me that I would like to stay within the manufacturing industry as well.

Overall this internship has helped to reaffirm my majors and the path that I am taking leading towards my post college career.  Everyday is a new learning experience helping to improve my skills to be a better Human Resources manager.

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