My experience at Sundog has been life-changing to say the least. The internship program here has helped me develop and grow my skills more than I ever could have imagined. And this program would not be what it is without the months of behind-the-scenes work that goes into it by the internship planning team. This week I sat down with Heidi, Justin, Preston, and Jason to learn more about what goes into making this internship a reality and what keeps them passionate.
1- What makes you passionate about Sundog’s internship program?
Preston: I think there are a lot of things that make our team passionate, but at our core it is all about possibilities. The possibility of doing awesome work and affecting change.
Jason: When you have 200 people applying to work for a company, it reinforces why you’re doing what you are.
Justin: For me, it is being able to watch the interns grow from the minute they walk through the door. It is a great opportunity for us to provide them with real world experience and support their growth throughout the program.
2- What perspective or experience do you bring to the intern planning team?
Heidi: I bring a marketing perspective and experience I’ve learned throughout the years to the team. In my job I work very closely with the education program, I’ve helped in taking steps to tie these to programs closely together.
Justin: Through my role as talent coordinator, I look at, what is the latest and greatest when it comes to attracting college students? How do we engage students at that age level? I try to always bring the perspective of, what do our interns want to get our of this program.
Preston: I have tended to be more focused on strategy and forwarding the mission of our internship program. I try to show the rest of the company the impact of this program.
Jason: I try to look at things from many different angles and an outside perspective with versatility.
3- Why do you believe that having an internship program is important to a company?
Justin: We use our internship program to innovate to come up with new ideas. Our interns have fresh perspectives and ideas. They hear new things that have been taught in the classroom. With our program, we are able to leverage that in our company and encourage them to come up with new ideas all the time.
Preston: I believe having an internship program is mutually beneficial to the interns participating in it and to the company. For students, you are given the opportunity to do meaningful work in a real environment and gain experience. For the company, you gain bright, motivated, passionate people to join your team.
Heidi: I think it is a smart recruiting tool for reaching students right out of college and making them excited about wanting to work in this industry. We’ve also gained great full-time employees as a result of our program.
4- What do you wish to see out of the internship program in the future?
Heidi: I’d love to be able to expand into Denver and Minneapolis to continue to grow the program.
Jason: It would be great to continue to give our interns meaningful work that gives them industry experience and helps the community.
Justin: I really like the direction, structure, and support we’ve put in place for this program. Long term, I have a vision of being the most respected program in the region. We want this to be the internship students want to get.
5- What is your favorite part about being on the internship planning team?
Heidi: Not everyone in the company gets to know the interns on the same level. My favorite part is getting to interact with the intern team and learn about what they are passionate about.
Preston: The internship planning team is a really diverse group, not only in different departments, but in the way we think. We are all really devoted and passionate about Sundog and we like the challenge of affecting change in our own small way.
6- What is the best thing you’ve seen as a result of the internship program at Sundog?
Justin: Our interns have done incredible work for Sundog and really gone above and beyond. I think that is one of the best results we could ask for.
Preston: There has been a definite shift from “What can the interns do?” to “What can’t the interns do?” Every meeting we have, we talk in that new context and that is what I think makes our program really unique.
Heidi: We’ve gotten so many great full-time employees that we’ve found through our internship programs, that without it, we may not have gotten.
Jason: You know your program is working when the transition from intern to full-time employee happens and those people are still passionate and don’t lose steam. That’s when you know you’ve brought on the right people.
Thank you to everyone at Sundog who makes this program a reality and supports what we do, especially the members of the internship planning team: Emily Voigtlander, Preston Johnson, Heidi Haaven, Dani Naboulsi, Justin Welk, and Alyssa Greve and the intern advisors: Shannon Luney, Sarah Nissen, Jason Jacobson, and Dirk Monson
Project Manager Intern