Inside the Life of…An Intern
Who am I? I’m the one who grabs coffee every morning for my co-workers. I’m the same guy who gets handed a bunch of busy work which appears to be the stuff nobody else wants to do. Further, I’m the one who is just referred to as “the intern”. What I just described to you is the stereotypical definition of what an intern is at many companies today. I am happy to report that at Zilker Technology, I am treated as more than just an intern. Who am I? I am Shane Gray, Marketing and Sales Operations Intern.
As a junior at Miami University in a remote town in southern Ohio (see Figure 1), I am majoring in Sports Management and Marketing. Wait, what? That’s right! You must be thinking, well then how in the world is this kid qualified to be working in the software solutions industry? Truthfully, I was under the same impression that I was not. However, thanks to the amazing mentoring and support from Jessica Bonds, I like to think that I have been able to succeed as an intern, and become qualified along the way in the IT community. Jessica comes from the same background as I do. She too was a Sports Management major in college, and is an avid sports fan (Go Pack Go). Now, she is the head of Marketing and Sales Operations, and plays a vital role here at Zilker. One of the first projects Jess had me do dealt with IBM’s Global Partner Portal, something that was completely out of my league, or so I thought. With Jess’s patience and great coaching ability, I was able to “master” this portal in no time. Soon after I felt comfortable with this system, IBM threw a curveball my way and decided to change up the entire system. Again, Jessica worked with me side by side to guide me through this new process, and eventually had me take over the CVR submissions aspect of this strenuous system.
As summer picked up, I was given more projects that required me to edit blogs, manage social media platforms, and gather content for our new company website that was in the beginning stages at the time (look how far we’ve come). Again, I want to remind you that I had absolutely zero experience in the technology field before this internship. After working with some knowledgeable fellas like Rich Bongiorno and Matt Dull, I gained a new sense of appreciation for people in this field. The employees at this company are so intelligent and willing to help one another at all times of the day, it’s pretty cool to experience first-hand. A great example of this is with Sinisa Spasic, a member of Zilker Belgrade. When Sinisa is finishing his day, we on the eastern half of the United States, are just beginning ours. I can count a handful of times where I have reached out to Sinisa with an issue or question while he should be off the clock, yet he replies to me lightning fast. It’s the little things like that that truly set Zilker apart.
A key milestone in my journey as an intern came when I had the chance to fly out to the Austin office for a few weeks. From the moment I saw the city skyline (see figure 2), I fell in love with Texas. Minus the brutally hot days, Austin was everything I had expected and then some. I can see why this place was chosen to set anchor. Over the course of this week I was able to meet more highly intelligent people such as West Dillard, Matt Clark, and Sean Wyrick. Besides their great sense of humor, these guys are some of the hardest working gentlemen I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and I learned a lot about work ethic during my brief stay in Austin. Whether we were on the train back to the suburbs, or out to eat, these guys always had something going for Zilker. Their commitment and passion is so contagious, and I think that is passed along to the entire company. Another aspect that leads to this great end product and team is the culture. The Austin office is in a building that is so unique that you can just sense the vibe when you walk in. Once up the stairs and down the hall, you enter into an open, well-lit office space, where not a single desk belongs solely to a specific employee. Magnificent artwork drapes the brick walls, a shuffleboard table is stationed in the corner, and the tall windows let the Austin sunshine come in. The laid-back, extremely casual atmosphere makes any guest feel right at home, and almost as if you’re not even in a work space. I think this really helps construct the optimal work environment for the Zilker team.
So let me stop making this sound like a massive sales pitch about how great my employer is and tell you what I have learned. In short, what haven’t I learned? I have become an Excel guru, thanks to the expertise from Jess. Honestly, everything I have learned through this experience starts with her. There is never a time where she lacks confidence in me, even when other bosses would. I am given meaningful tasks including: ordering business cards and t-shirts for new employees, scheduling birthday and anniversary posts for the whole company on social media, and coming up with marketing strategies to keep promoting the Zilker name. It may not sound like much, but Jess makes it feel like these jobs are important, which further shows her passion and goal to acknowledge all employees on their big days and anniversaries at the company. I’ve created YouTube channels for video content, made marketable slides bragging about our past projects, and most importantly, I have become a better time manager. Between 16 credit hours at school, and around 10 hours every week for Zilker, I am forced to value my time and eliminate the classic “mid-day college nap”. I have become a brighter young man that is open to all sorts of opportunities in fields other than sport. Quite honestly, I can see myself marketing a software program now, whereas a few months ago that never would have crossed my mind!
As you can hopefully see from this short blurb, Zilker Technology is an incredible place to work, full of talented and dedicated humans. The experiences I have had so far have given me more tools than a workshop and more information than a software hard-drive. I will continue to make contributions as an intern, and love every minute of it thanks to the extraordinary leadership and culture within the company. Zilker Technology is one of a kind, and I feel badly for those who do not get to work with such a great group of people. Don’t sleep on ZT! As the great Conor McGregor once said: “We’re not just here to take part, we’re here to take over”.
Shane Gray is our Marketing/Sales Operations Intern from Cleveland, OH. This is his second summer with us, though he has been with Zilker for over a year. Shane is entering his Senior year at Miami University, where he plans to graduate with a Marketing degree. While here, Shane has become proficient in Excel, Zoho, multiple IBM Partner Portals, and has showcased his writing ability.Shane Gray. View more blogs by Shane Gray
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