August 15, 2022
Internships give students a glimpse into what working a full-time job will be like post-graduation.
Jim Vespa, a junior in industrial engineering, is conducting an internship with ThermAvant.
We reached out to ask him a few questions about the experience.
Tell us about your internship at ThermAvant. What’s your role and primary responsibility?
As a startup company, ThermAvant is looking to ramp up their production in the near future. I was brought in as an industrial engineering intern to help out with (1) the typical challenges faced by a startup company, (2) executing a re-layout of the facility and (3) making sure all new technicians can easily learn their station’s details.
What’s a typical day like?
There really is no one “typical day” that I’ve had. While working here I’ve had multiple responsibilities. We had frequent meetings to review the latest draft of a warehouse layout and how the process flow of parts would work. It was difficult since we have many large machines, are actively ordering more machines and only have so much room in our warehouse to work with. I have to find and purchase the most ideal workstations online by comparing price, size, lead time, quality and features of all the workstations currently available.
Organization is a huge deal in transitioning to being a larger company. I created 12 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) from scratch and updated 10 more to ensure we have a SOP in place for every step in the production process. I made them very simple, straight to the point and with a lot of images so all the new technicians would easily be able to understand and perform each process. When new technicians are hired, I made small tests for them for each of the SOPs to make sure they understood the material. This ultimately leads to more people working at more stations in an optimal layout to produce as many quality parts as possible.
How did Mizzou Engineering prepare you for this internship?
The Mizzou Department of Engineering taught me how to think from a systems perspective ever since I took my first industrial engineering class. I was able to compare the workstations well due to assistance from Professor Shahvari and his engineering economics class. I knew how to create the SOPs and the sequences of events for the time studies well because of Professor Wu and his Fundamentals of System Designs class. Also, the rigorous coursework in general at Mizzou Engineering molds you into a more focused student just to pass your classes, which in turn brings this strong work ethic into the workplace.
How did Mizzou Engineering Career Services assist you with securing or preparing for this internship?
Mizzou Engineering Career Services really helped me refine my resume. It is challenging to land an engineering internship just after your sophomore year since some of the more advanced coursework doesn’t start until Junior year. The career services department’s advice as to what to highlight in my resume as well as assisting in the presentation was a game changer.
What have you learned from your internship experience?
Through these six months of interning, I have learned the significance of teamwork, organization and consistency. I feel like these are the three major keys that will make or break a company. We have a truly great team full of genuine, smart people that I feel proud to be associated with. I am very excited for the future. I feel big things are ahead for both this company and my personal career.
What advice would you give other students wanting to have a similar internship experience?
Do not get behind the 8 ball. Go to every career fair, even if you are a freshman, and start looking for places to intern with at the beginning of the school year. The more internships you have, the better. And the more likely your next internship/job will be top notch.
Is there anything else you’d like others to know about your internship?
Tiger country… let’s ride!
Thanks for sharing!
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