This past winter term I was selected, along with two other Graceland business students, Jay Lysinger and Ethan Pitt, to participate in an internship at CenterPoint Energy in Houston, Texas. The internship lasted 10 days, in which I was able to soak in the culture and environment of the workplace, and to experience, in depth, some of the lesser known features of a corporation on a personal level. There wasn't as much work as I had expected but, instead, our time was spent meeting with business professionals and learning what they do on a day-to-day basis. Since this experience was different than a typical internship, CenterPoint called it an "externship."
Every day, the three of us would visit different departments in the company, such as customer service, financing, accounting, human resources and several others. We met with many employees, with the number totaling 18 different employees on one of the days we were there. These business professionals took time out of their day to visit with us, and would talk to us about what they specifically do at CenterPoint. They also asked us about our interests in school and in life, and got to know us on a personal level. It really impressed me how willing these people were to talk with us and to help us get a real feel for their company.
During my experience, I felt at home from the very beginning. The community at the company seemed very close knit and close to the "Graceland Experience" that I have come to love. The employees seemed to be so grateful to work in a culture such as this and to be surrounded by such genuine people that have been working there for 30 plus years!
Tracy Bridge, a Graceland alum and one of the top executives at CenterPoint, and his wife, Chris Bridge, housed Jay, Ethan and me during our time in Houston. They were more than generous while we were there and they made sure we felt at home during our stay. Tracy’s humility, down to earth personality and witty humor made it easy to be in this new setting and to feel comfortable during this short experience. I can’t speak highly enough about Tracy, but to know him on a personal level and to have learned from him in a professional setting was an invaluable experience that I will always remember.