We are proud of our students, when they are in the classroom and when they enter the workforce. Hear what some of them have been up to since they've left the UWF College of Business.
Dacotah Ledbetter, SCLM
Why did you pursue a degree in supply chain logistics management?
I fell in love with supply chain and logistics once I took Dr. Keller’s introduction class. Supply chain and logistics explains why and how every consumer product exists. From purchasing to transportation, every product and service has a beginning and an end. I always asked my mom growing up “why” when it came to how things were made and how things got to where they are. My degree finally helps me explain what my mom could not.
How did you land your job at Marten? What was the application/interview/moving process like?
Ultimately, this process started 2 springs ago at the Spring Career Showcase in the College of Business. I was a junior and, like other companies, the representatives from Marten told me to check back in with them once I was a senior. Fast-forward to the 2017 Spring Career Showcase, Marten remembered me and set me up with 2 phone interviews later that same week. Within two weeks, I was brought up to the Tucker, GA terminal for my final interview on a Tuesday. By the end of the week, I had a job offer in writing. It was a great interview process. When Marten see talent, they hire the individual without necessarily having a position open for them. After the individual is hired, then Marten creates a position for them. I think this is a great alternative to the traditional hiring method because then the hire chooses what position they think they can excel in. The move to Georgia was an easy one, I am less than 30 minutes from the heart of Atlanta and I have fallen in love with the city and surrounding areas. At first it was tough being away from my family and friends, but now I am meeting new people and the group of individuals I work with at Marten makes it seem like I have family here with how welcoming they are.
When did you start?
I started in Georgia in June.
What are your job responsibilities?
I am the Southeast Dry Account Manager for Marten here at the Georgia Terminal. Marten started in 1946 originally as a small milk delivery operation in Mondovi, Wisconsin. Now, Marten’s main business is in refrigerated truckloads. With the federal mandate having electronic logs in all trucks going into effect at the end of this year, Marten took the initiative and expanded into the dry truckload business. When I heard of this opportunity, I wanted to be a part of growing a fleet of trucks within the Southeast region from scratch. It is very fulfilling to know I am at the start of a major operation here in Marten. Working alongside the fleet manager and sales people, we are steadily increasing the amount of dry freight hauled here in the southeast region. I communicate with customers and schedule all appointments for our dry freight.
How did your coursework prepare you for this opportunity?
Coursework and field training hand-in-hand helped me land the job with Marten Transportation Ltd. What stood out to my employers was the amount of supply chain and logistics knowledge I knew coming out of the program at UWF as well as the amount of field research professors allow students to join in on. With coursework, case work and presentations allowed for real world situations to be applied, which I believe allowed for a successful transition into my career. Now, Marten is looking into hiring more UWF graduates due to how impressed they were with what I have learned from the program and how much they enjoyed the career fair at UWF.
Mike Juchniewicz, SCLM
Mike Juchniewicz attended UWF for the opportunity to interact more with his professors. By his senior year, he was texting and talking to them daily about job prospects. Looking back, those relationships were the most impactful part of his UWF experience. “They went above and beyond for me,” he says of professors Scott Keller, Stephen LeMay and Peter Ralston.
When Mike entered the supply chain logistics management program, he reached out to Dr. Keller for counsel on classes and what to expect. Over the next year, that meeting evolved into a mentorship and expanded to include the program’s other professors. “They really took me under their wing,” Mike says. “And I saw it before and after me with other students, too. They would learn who students were, what they wanted and how they could help.”
Through the program and internships, Mike traveled around the country, presented to company executives and was involved in the Supply Chain Logistics Association at UWF, serving as president his senior year. “I was being exposed to real world practice that you don’t get straight out of a book or reading a case study,” he says. “It really taught me that I knew what I was doing, and I could handle myself in big pressure situations.”
In Spring 2015, Mike and a team of supply chain students traveled to Denver, Colorado, for a logistics competition, which provided only three weeks of preparation. Through that experience, he learned what kind of leader he aspired to be, how to function and succeed in his industry and where he wanted to launch his career. On the way back, I told Dr. Keller, "When I’m about to graduate, I’m getting a job with Crane Worldwide Logistics. I know that’s what I want to do and where I want to be."
With grit, guidance and patience, Mike achieved his goal and joined Crane in Summer 2016 for a yearlong leadership development program, traveling to Houston, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Chicago and Atlanta.
Gerry Goldstein, MBA
After deciding to return to college decades after completing his undergraduate degree, Gerry Goldstein quickly immersed himself into the collaborative atmosphere at UWF and made lasting relationships with his classmates and professors.
"I chose UWF because I continually heard great things about the MBA Program and I wanted to be on campus learning every day," Gerry said.
In 2015, a UWF team including Gerry and three other MBA students won first place in the Best Small Business Development Center Paper competition at the Small Business Institute’s 40th Annual Academic Conference.
Gerry credits UWF for advancing his personal and professional career goals and for refining his critical thinking and writing skills.
Since graduating with an MBA in Spring 2015, Gerry continues to establish his presence at UWF and in the Pensacola community as an adjunct professor, teaching two courses in the College of Business, while also serving as Assistant Director of the Florida Small Business Development Center Network State Office.
"UWF was the catalyst for all of the opportunities I’ve found in my career," Gerry said.
His piece of advice for students on the fence about entering a graduate program at UWF is to simply do it. Even after building a long list of accomplishments, his favorite memory was receiving his diploma.
"Getting your master’s degree is worth the time and the money. The skills and experience you gain, as well as adding it to your resume, ultimately pay off."
Nam Nguyen, Accounting/Finance and MBA
For UWF alumnus Nam Nguyen, getting involved made all the difference for his personal growth and career development.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from UWF, he spent a few years working in the area before returning to the College of Business for his Master of Business Administration.
During his time at UWF, Nam won various awards, including the Graduate Research Travel Award and the UWF College of Business Leadership Award, and was heavily involved in the Executive Mentor Program, which gave him the opportunity to expand his network within and beyond UWF. “The networking, conferences, mentoring and guest speakers – it all provided so much value as a student,” he says.
Nam also served as president of the Association for Information Systems, where he and a team of fellow students won first place in the IBM Bluemix Bright ICT Competition. The competition challenges contestants to design and implement a solution for negative and dangerous activities on the internet and awarded the champion team substantial prize money. Nam was proud to give back to the organization and next group of AIS officers.
“The leadership opportunities I had pushed me out of my shell,” Nam says. “They were a platform for me to grow professionally and learn leadership, communication and team-building skills, which directly translates to the workplace.”
In March 2016, Nam attended UWF Career Services’ Spring Career Showcase, where he met with The Ropella Group, an executive search and consulting firm in Milton. He started working for them part time, and upon graduation, assumed a full-time role.
“Coming back to UWF put me on the right track,” says Nam. “It gave me all of the resources that I needed to be successful in my field.”
Connor Bachmann, Marketing
Connor Bachmann applies the concepts he learns in classrooms in real life every day, especially at his job as a Member Service Representative at Navy Federal Credit Union.
Connor, a senior, is seeking his degree in Business Administration in Marketing with a Sales Management specialization, and he credits Dr. Bob Kimball for shaping him into the emerging leader he is today. "Dr. Kimball taught our class the fundamentals of how to sell yourself as a professional. He encouraged his students to go out and get what they want," he says.
Through experiential learning in the course Sales Management, Connor learned how to adapt in office scenarios and in dealing with customer relations.
Outside of the classroom, the UWF Marketing and Logistics Association nurtured Connor’s interest in the business discipline. Through the club, he attended numerous job fairs, networking opportunities, plant tours and more. "My involvement in MLA improved my communication skills significantly and encouraged responsibility and growth as a young professional," he says.
The determination to stand out from other students and colleagues continued as Connor received specialized attention in career guidance, interview practice and networking, among many resources offered by the UWF College of Business.
With valuable friendships and connections under his belt, Connor continues to work at Navy Federal Credit Union, where he refines his leadership skills and entrepreneurial spirit.
In the future, he hopes to work for a successful sales team and be a positive influence. "I want to be responsible for creating an encouraging work environment that readily overcomes whatever is thrown their way, which is what my UWF professors instilled in me," he says.
Marina Weible, German MBA
“It’s more than just studying. It’s a sense of feeling that you belong. It’s forming a group and forming pride that we’re in this program together.”
That sense of community was one of the many things Marina Weible loved about the Germany MBA program at the University of West Florida College of Business. The 2016 graduate began the 18-month program when she discovered it was everything she was looking for – an international degree that was AACSB-accredited, a designation held by fewer than 5 percent of business schools worldwide, and the opportunity to be on campus, all while working in Germany and Switzerland.
Marina currently works as an analytical consultant for Google Switzerland and began her role while still in the program. She says she felt more than prepared, thanks to the curriculum.
“Through my portfolio assignment, I learned so many aspects about Google and the industry – how it works and how strategies were forming – before I joined the company,” she says. “That gave me a leg up on my onboarding.”
Additionally, the courses and professors provided relevant and engaging content that Marina found valuable. “I really enjoyed hearing from professors who brought in real-world work experience, compared to having only studied in theory.”
One professor, Dr. Stephen LeMay, left an impression. “He did an amazing job reflecting what’s out there in the industry,” she says. “I actually read every single article he recommended.”
Looking back, Marina says her favorite memories were the two stays in Pensacola, bonding with her cohort, and “of course the sunshine.”