A year ago, Trent Ranney ’12 says that the only thing he knew about paint was “how to spell it.”
But while traveling to Nationals with the Graceland Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team, Trent handed out his resume to the franchise College Pro Painters.
And a few weeks later, he had a lot to learn about paint.
College Pro is an exterior residential painting business. Trent’s focus area of operations was Overland Park, KS, so at the beginning of last summer he packed up and headed south.
After a crash course in painting 101, Trent started his own business through College Pro. He found himself in charge of sales estimates, hiring, firing, interviewing, acquiring leads and countless other responsibilities. Though the business initially required a 90-hour work week, Trent was able to navigate his work load and earn the company’s Rookie Manager of the Year award.
“It was all a building process, it came in steps. You had to have faith it would all turn out,” said Trent. “It was the best and hardest experience at the same time.”
“The opportunities that I’ve had at Graceland have been amazing. Through SIFE and Outreach I’ve had international experiences and I really feel like I’m making a difference.”
As summer concluded, Trent continued his work for the company, spending eight total months with College Pro. He juggled this on top of his Graceland campus involvements. Trent is heavily involved with SIFE, Outreach International club, and Graceland Varsity Golf. Though balancing his business and school responsibilities was challenging, Trent says his Graceland experiences have given him a unique and impressive resume.
“You can go to any college and go to class, but Graceland has so many ways to get you involved. You meet a lot of people and you can do a lot of great things you couldn’t do anywhere else,” said Trent.
Through Graceland’s alumni base, Trent was able to meet with Bob Ackerley, one of the founders of Smith and Associates, an international digital distributor. After flying to Houston, TX to check out the company, Trent accepted a sales position and will begin work for the company this July.
Trent is a third-generation Graceland student, and both his grandfather and father worked for the school. Originally born in Austin, TX, his family moved to Lamoni when he was young and he has grown up in the local community. Though the transition from small town Iowa to the nation’s third-largest city may be dramatic, Trent says he feels excited and ready to begin his career.
“[At Graceland] I feel like I’ve succeeded, especially academically,” said Trent. “My teachers have been amazing. They really care about you. They’ll drive down the street and see you, and stop to talk. I feel like they’ve helped me succeed.”