Janai’s Guest Blog-My Week as a Drexel Extern

Taking this externship was a whole new experience.  It wasn’t an internship, but it was an opportunity to be able to see a job I want to consider in my career path. One of the goals that I wanted to achieve from this opportunity was to learn how a business runs and to observe  the factors that go into a business. Since what I want to do in my future is very broad in the business field I am hoping to get more of an idea of all the types of jobs that are in a business and how they work. When picking which site I wanted to spend my externship at, Drexel Building Supply really caught my eye. Drexel seemed different, it looked more like a family than employees. In all honesty it was the best decision that I could have made.

On the first day I walked into Drexel Downtown, I saw many offices and people working. I got to meet Justin and Jenna who welcomed me so nicely to everyone in the office. We then walked into the conference room where we sat down and had an introduction to what we would do throughout our day at Drexel. The schedule involved who we got to meet and where everything was located. When we finished explaining each task, we then headed to Campbellsport where I got to meet Steve and Dan. Steve and Dan gave me a tour around the whole building inside and out. We got to meet people working and hear their stories of how Drexel impacted their lives. After seeing the whole building and yard, I was convinced that the interior display was my favorite. It was very well designed and had products available to show customers the exact item that they would be purchasing. Some of the products that they have in the display room include doors, windows, countertops, and cabinetry.

Once we finished with Steve and Dan, we met Nick, AKA Rocky.  Even though he was very busy,  he still had time to show us how he works and what he does on a daily basis. While he was working, he told me how important it is to double check your work.  During our time with him, Rocky was given two sheets of the same paper and he wasn’t sure if the contractor sent the wrong one or if they made a mistake. He then double checked and made sure there were no mistakes. He was able to discover that there were no mistakes, and it was simply two sheets of the same paper. Even though Rocky was busy, he made sure to complete the most important tasks first.

After I finished talking to Rocky, I  got to meet Alicia and Amanda. Alicia and Amanda were extremely sweet and thoughtful.  It was inspiring to listen to their stories about how they go to where they are now.  They showed me how checks get deposited, but they mainly discussed the money side of Drexel. Also, they gave me advice that will impact me when trying to decide what I want to do in the future.  For example, a piece of advice that they gave was to remember that people often end up working at a job that is completely different than what they studied. When talking to them they brought up Drexel’s ten core values. Some of the core values include ethics, balance and accountability.

When we finished visiting everyone, we got to go to lunch at Blue Door Coffee. Blue Door is a coffee shop that is connected with Drexel, and all profits from the shop go to local charities. It was fascinating to me that they gave all the profits to charity. was something. To go along with that, they also have a cute interior and amazing food. Coming home after the first day, I  reflected on what I learned. Drexel isn’t any business, it is a family. They’re flexible but hard working, and everyone I met was insightful and down to earth. The feeling was just pure happiness, which not many businesses have.

The second day, we met at Downtown Drexel with Justin who introduced us to  the marketing specialist, Connor. Connor, being around the same age as I am, already has so much knowledge about his career. I was surprised how much weight he has to carry in the marketing department, especially for how young he is. For example, he talked about the Expo, which is a large event where contractors can display their stands of their projects and projects. The whole event is done with a lot of time and money, and it showed how much dedication Connor puts into his work. Efficiency seems to be key when Connor talked to us, even if he is working full-time, he still wants to go to school and keep learning.

After Connor, we got to meet with Design, which was one of my favorites. At first, I would have thought that it would be too technical and boring, but I learned that it was a vision. Kevin Soyk, the head of design, showed us how they can design their house.  I didn’t realize just how much thought goes into designing a house, from the height of the ceiling to the price one might spend. I asked Kevin how to start the process of building a home, and it was very insightful. We started off by reading off basic questions that one might not even have put thought into. Some of these questions include a budget or how tall a customer wants the ceilings and floors. Lastly, design was something that inspired me. Joel, the head of Drexel, has a vision to help a pastor build a retreat for kids to stay in. In the process Kevin showed me the design of the house and just how much thought and planning will go into creating the structure. From the bunk beds in each room to even the kitchens and bathrooms every room gets. This really shows just how much Drexel gives to their community .

On the third day I learned about doors, flooring, and windows. To start off I met Ryan Ogi and Adam Piper. They showed me how accurate acknowledgments have to be. When one acknowledgement  is wrong it could cause a loss of money and time. For the jobs at Drexel, you have to be accurate. For example, when the doors need to be ordered early they need to come in a month from the day ordered. If they’re late it could cause a problem with the process of building a house. After learning about doors, I was led to the flooring department where I met Dani and Vern. In the flooring department,  I learned how important it is to know your product. Knowing your product helps the customer find their best fit. Dani discussed the importance of being organized and patient because a lot of detail goes into designs of flooring. A customer might think flooring is just something you step on and that’s it. However, it isn’t that simple. Many factors go into deciding what kind of flooring is perfect for the customer such as the different shapes and sizes, the amount it expands or creases, and the how easily the floor can scratch.

The last people I met on the third day were Steve and Keith (AKA Juice).  They were both very informative of just how customers purchase windows. Also, they discussed how to handle damaged products and customer returns.  Steve and Juice were good examples of how to make work fun since they were filled with jokes and good spirit.

On the last day I met with Scott, and many others from estimating. They showed me how a client can design a house from scratch. Drexel is able to create a 3-D house on the computer where the client is able to see the both inside and outside the structure. The last place we visited was Cabinetry with John. John taught me how to build the structure of a kitchen based on emails he has received from clients. He started by drawing the cabinets by hand and determining where they would be placed. Once he finished drawing the structure, we then moved to the computers where he was able to make the drawings come to life by creating a 3-D picture. During the creation process he made time to contact the buyers and customers. He taught me the importance of following up with customers and how it will show your customers you are on the same page as them.  The most important advice that John gave me was organization. Organization is something that can make a huge impact when you are busy and it is also something that many people forget. That’s why he showed me many ways to organize, for example, Google calendar. It’s a great way to be notified when you can’t remember everything.

I would have never imagined being interested in talking about wood floors or how to make a house and being interested the entire time. Being at Drexel really taught me how everything comes together as a whole. In this Externship I learned a lot about being a team member not an employee. Being in this environment really taught me that you’re more than just a number. Without each person I mentioned and more, it wouldn’t be Drexel. They’re all one whole, without one there wouldn’t be a house. Each and every person is a piece of the puzzle and that’s why Drexel is different from any other business. For example, how giving Drexel is which has to do a lot with Joel, the head of Drexel. I have never heard of someone so giving and selfless, from charities to materials given to the community. I could list so many more things Drexel does for others but it would take me days to list them all. It was really a learning experience, and I want to thank each and every person who gave up their time to help me.

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