From Campus to Career

Monday November 14, 2016 | Filed under: News, Tim's Blog, From Campus to Career

I’m a huge advocate of bringing more millennials into our industry, and one of the best ways to do that is through internships – paid, whenever possible. Millennials – and their $200 billion in spending power – are the future of the promotional products industry because they provide insight into the new and upcoming generation of consumers.

That’s why we launched the ASI Summer Internship Program. All told, 108 millennials interned at 69 different participating companies – a terrific response for a new initiative. As part of the program, ASI offered a $1,000 scholarship to the intern who wrote the best essay about their experiences and what they learned about the industry and promo products.

I’m delighted to announce the scholarship winner is Julianna Krueger (pictured at right), who interned in the Varsity Line division of ASI distributor Neil Enterprises Inc. in Vernon Hills, IL (asi/281900). In her winning essay, Julianna wrote, “This internship helped me understand not only the industry, but also how it supports the success of other industries.”

Clearly, Julianna gets it.

Our scholarship winner is currently a sophomore at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI, with a double major in marketing and management, and plans to pursue a master’s degree. We expect great things are ahead for Julianna.

At Neil, an ASI member since 1975, Julianna worked in the division that sells licensed merchandise to college bookstores – a perfect fit for a student. “When I was not processing orders, I would have other tasks to complete,” she wrote. “I printed barcodes, followed up with vendors on orders in progress and answered emails. This internship has given me a great appreciation for the items that I see in my school’s bookstore.”

Her internship experience taught her everything she now knows about the promotional products industry, plus new computer program and communication skills.

The best part is that Julianna is seriously considering a job in the industry after graduation. Having the opportunity to better understand promotional products spiked her interest and allowed her to see how many ventures and components are involved in our industry.

How is she going to spend her scholarship money? (If it were me, I’d be tempted to blow it on a trip.) She didn’t hesitate, answering, “The whole sum is going directly to help pay my tuition.”

By the way, an ASI intern – we now have two working in editorial, marketing and events – helped me research this blog post, interviewing both Julianna and her supervisor, Alysa Eidmann, who told us Julianna was a tremendous help – especially considering that Alysa was about to head off on maternity leave.

“I couldn’t have done it without her help,” said Alysa. “I was able to trust her to take care of my orders with minimal checking up on her. She has a great work ethic.”

This was the fifth year Neil Enterprises welcomed interns to their company and their first time participating in ASI’s program. If your company has yet to consider interns, I strongly urge you to do so. The spring semester ends in about six months, and there will be thousands of eager, qualified students looking for opportunities that could just end up changing their lives for the better.