From College to Business
Thursday, June 13, 2019
by Dryden Steele
When I first moved into my small, shared box that I called a dorm room, the timer started. A clock was counting down the moment that I would walk across the stage and receive my diploma, the stepping stone into the world of business. As the timer ticked closer and closer to zero, I stressed more and more about my life after college. Would I be happy with my degree choice? Would I find a job? What kind of people would I work with?
These questions hung over my head while I was still in school, and although they frightened me, they also pushed me to look for the best job I could land. Thankfully, my alma mater does frequent internship and career fairs that help students and employers meet face to face in a comfortable setting. I entered the room and saw a man standing in front of a big banner with the words “Output Management” below an unfamiliar diamond-shaped logo.
I was intrigued, so I asked him what the term “output management” really meant. He did well in explaining the importance of document workflows in an enterprise, and it soon became obvious that this company was a leader and powerhouse in the industry. The man was John Runions, who is currently the Director of North American Systems Engineering at LRS. He told me that the company was looking for interns in the Systems Engineering group, a pre-sales technical position where I would get to understand the products, create scripts to modify them, then help explain and implement them based on the needs of a specific customer.
He went on to explain that this position was not as code-intensive as that of a developer (for which they were also actively recruiting), but that there was still some coding involved with scripting languages. This was good news for me; during my studies, I had to code a large number of projects in Java, C++ and C. I also had done some web development and databasing, but I couldn’t see myself coding 40 hours a week. I liked talking about the projects, setting goals, making decisions and going through the building process, but the in-depth coding often made me lose sight of the overall project goals.
I ended up taking the internship and was pleased that I could interact with almost every area of the company, including the developers, the support team, the sales staff, and of course the engineers. I was able to travel to new cities and states, assist in designing solutions, and especially talk about the technical inner-workings of all the products and services LRS provides. Everyone I worked with seemed very eager to teach me, and I felt like this internship was an extension of my higher education.
The 3-month internship went by in a flash, and I made lots of friends while getting some of the most valuable technical and professional experience imaginable. For personal reasons, I was looking to see a different part of the country. LRS is a global organization and luckily for me, there was an opening in LRS’ East Coast office. The Connecticut team welcomed me with open arms and put me to work immediately. I now have the privilege of having more face to face interactions with customers, getting deeply involved in software implementations, creating documentation, and ultimately assisting in closing business deals that help my division and team meet our goals. I’m not just learning about technology, I’m using my technical skills to help my customers, my team, and my company succeed.
Every day, I appreciate the chance that was given to me to prove myself during the internship and I know that this appreciation goes both ways. The internship was a perfect test-run for both me and the company, to see if I was a good fit and to see if I enjoyed working there. Now that I am a full-time employee, my education will continue, and I am loving every second of it. As LRS welcomes a new crop of summer interns, it is my turn to give back to them as they watch their own timers tick toward zero.