Patrick McFetridge ’12 is working at Vermont Information Processing in Williston, VT as a Projects Manager and Software Implementation Specialist. The company specializes in software for beverage distributors across the country. Patrick travels extensively around the United States to various beer, wine and soda distributors to demonstrate VIP’s software. When not travelling, Patrick spends most of his time on site teaching customers to use VIP’s software through one on one sessions and classroom style lectures. Both his activities on site and on the road require him to have an in depth knowledge of the various features and capabilities of the firm’s software suite, from general ledger information, warehouse management systems, delivery applications to delivery routing systems.
Patrick reports that there are a number of fellow alums at the company, though he is the youngest. He has already acquired his own portfolio of clients and will soon have his own install projects to lead. These projects include both the data conversion necessary for installing the product and then the actual install itself. Once the install project is completed, Patrick’s team is responsible for follow through and primary customer support for a brief period before the customer is transferred to VIP’s Customer Service Department, and Patrick begins the cycle again with another account.
Interestingly, Patrick credits community service he did as a student through the MOVE office for his job at VIP. “ I was assisting in the Milton Youth Day events when I met a woman representing VIP at the event asked if I would be interested in taking a tour of the company…once I was a senior, I took the tour, began the application process and here I am!” He also reports that “the education I acquired at SMC had helped prepare me for the tasks and challenges I face every day in the workplace and on site.” Patrick lives quite near campus, in Winooski with two other SMC grads from the class of 2012. He tells us that I am having a great time working for this company primarily because we are employee owned which creates a great corporate culture!”
Patrick was a member of the team of SMC Business students who won first prize at last year’s State University of New York Plattsburgh Free Enterprise Olympics, a competition involving students from eight colleges and universities in the region (see “Events”, April 1, 2013 posting).
Prof. Bill Meyer recently “brought” two distinguished CEO’s into his BU 215 Marketing class using Skype to connect his students with leading marketing practitioners. His first guest was Chad Ledford, formerly of 3tailer, LLC (http://www.3tailer.com), an online retailer offering over 200,000 products primarily in categories typically underserved by other sellers. Chad recently began a new venture, AddShoppers (http://www.addshoppers.com), a company that works with online retailers to help them maximize their impact on social media. AddShoppers offers its clients a proprietary array of analytic tools and promotional tactics to better understand where sales are generated and how to build broader communities online for their respective brands. Chad spoke to the class about how online retailers have to use marketing strategies to distinguish themselves in an increasingly competitive environment.
The other “visitor” to Prof. Meyer’s class was Greg Tepas, CEO of Emkay (http://www.emkay.com ), based in Itasca, IL. Emkay is an employee-owned firm specializing in management and leasing services for corporate vehicle fleets across North America. Founded in 1946, Emkay has grown to become one of the top ten service providers in the industry. Gregg focused on the challenges of building a service-based brand and developing the kind of team that can deliver consistently outstanding service.
Business grad Eamon Khalaj ’12 is a Financial Services Associate at People’s United Bank, Waltham, MA. He works as a personal banker, loan officer, and public representative of the bank. In order to broaden his branch’s customer base, Eamon conducts a lot of market research and participates in many networking activities with area businesses. He also reports that he’s been able to use his multilingual capabilities to assist a wide demographic range of people who come in with questions ranging from opening accounts to account maintenance and growth. Part of his work involves making loans within his designated lending limit. Another important part of his job is taking part in ongoing training about the bank’s products. Eamon tells us that “People’s United Bank has been very hands on in my personal growth within the company, which has allowed me to progress at the rate that I am…..it definitely keeps me on my toes. Banking is an extremely competitive industry – this was a surprise to me, and something I had no idea of when I first entered banking!”
Patty Richards, Master of Science in Administration ’07, joined Washington Electric Cooperative last May as the General Manager. Washington Electric Co-op serves approximately 11,000 households and businesses in 41 towns in Vermont’s Orange, Washington and Caledonia Counties. Two-thirds of the electricity used by WEC members is generated by WEC’s own landfill gas plant in Coventry, and its small hydro facility at the Wrightsville Reservoir. Patty has had a long history working in the utility world in Vermont. Between 2010 and 2013, she was a Senior Consultant with La Capra Associates, a firm which assists utilities with power supply planning, contracting and management, renewable energy development analysis, rate design and other regulatory matters. Prior to taking the position at La Capra, she was Director of Power Supply and Transmission for the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority, where she managed power supply for several small municipal utilities as well as WEC’s interactions with the New England regional power grid. Patty began her utility career at Burlington Electric Department, where she worked for 17 years in administrative and energy efficiency related positions before becoming its Director of Resource Planning. In that position she gained recognition for her regulatory work at the Public Service Board, at the State House and in energy education programs at schools and colleges.
Since the Fall of 2012, students in Prof. Brosh Teucher’s BU 214 Management class have been conducting interviews with small businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout Vermont to identify both key management challenges they face and successful management practices. These interviews have formed the basis for a series of student-written business cases which can be used in a wide range of classes. The students in the Fall 2012, Spring 2013, and Fall 2013 classes have also developed and refined a web site (http://madeitinvermont.com/) which contains a complete listing of the six companies and one nonprofit interviewed so far, as well as case synopses for the Fall 2012 interviews. Case Synopses for the Fall 2013 round will be posted over the next few months.
At the end of each semester the students presented their cases and the website to panels of IT, marketing and management professionals. The presentation of the website during the Saint Michael’s College Academic Symposium in April 2013 drew almost 180 visitors, a record for the event.
John McGrath ’10, a Budget Analyst for Babson College and Clarkson MBA Grad ’11, was recently accepted into Northeastern University’s doctoral program in Higher Education Administration. Prior to working at Babson, John worked as the Budget Director for TCI College in New York City developing multi-year budgets, providing organizational downsizing suggestions, and serving as the financial analyst for union negotiations.
John plans to study financial reform at Northeastern, focusing on developing new financial models which can allow colleges and universities to cut tuition rates. He feels that his doctoral research is very timely, given the widespread public concern with ever increasing tuition costs and the federal government’s $10 billion incentive program for colleges and universities to develop new ways of reducing the tuition burden for students.
Matt Benedetto ’12, founder of Eastern Collective, has already been featured on this site (see August 2011, “Alumni News”) with his original company, East Coast Headware, which he began in 2003 and brought with him to campus when he came to Saint Michael’s College. ECH sold various products for skiers and snowboarders, and attracted extensive attention for both the brand and for Matt. Matt again appeared on this site in 2012, as a co-winner of the 2012 Enterprise Plan Competition (see July,2012 “Events”).
In 2012, Matt changed the company name to Eastern Collective. He has refocused its main product offering to a line of fabric-covered iPhone cables. Not surprisingly, the line has proven to be a huge success, with Benedetto achieving widespread distribution in a number of national retail chains and online sellers. Last April, he was featured in Entrepreneur magazine. The article can be accessed at http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225941