From Intern to Hired: Turning Pratt Internships into Full-Time Sales Careers

Starting a new career is a time of excitement, change and a bit of uncertainty. Participating in internships can equip students with professional experiences to help them excel in their careers. At Pratt, we offer internships in a variety of fields at locations across the country providing real-life job experience allowing students to apply their classroom learning to real world situations. And, for some students, a successful internship can turn into the start of a full-time career.

In this series, we feature employees who began as interns and now have thriving careers at Pratt. Each shares his or her insights and advice on interning with as well as transitioning from student to professional.

Drew Poland, William Bottcher and Nick Fields, are current members of Pratt’s sales team who interned with the company as college students. They say that the experiences they had as summer interns greatly shaped their career paths – both in the sales field and at Pratt. While each of their internships were in specific fields of study, they had the opportunity to shadow Pratt employees in all of the departments at the plant. This rotation provided them with a full working knowledge of Pratt’s production process which is essential to understand in a sales-related role.

William Bottcher, Sales Representative

“As an intern, shadowing coworkers in each department really helped me understand the process of making our corrugated packaging,” shares William Bottcher, sales representative in our Atlanta, GA converting plant. “I did everything from working on the production floor to assisting packaging designers and shipping out finished products. I’ve been able to use those experiences when I’m meeting with customers to answer their questions and explain the products we provide.”

Fields, a sales representative at our Henderson, KY corrugating plant agrees.

Nick Fields, Sales Representative

“My internship was in packaging design, but I was able to join the sales teams on some of their customer calls which introduced me to building relationships and a different side of the business,” said Fields. “I realized that while I liked packaging design, I enjoyed the sales process and collaborating with our customers a bit more. Doing what I do now, I get to enjoy the best of both worlds.”

Poland, Bottcher and Fields all credited the experiences they had during their internships with why they pursued careers at Pratt. 

“It was a big deal to me that a company would offer me a full-time position before heading into my senior year,” said Poland. “I knew that they were invested in helping me succeed, so I accepted the offer and have never looked back.”

Drew Poland, Sales Manager

They all share that while their internships helped them in their roles on the sales team, there were some things that they had to learn by doing. Managing an entire territory of customers, building a full book of business and cold-calling on customers were just a few of the new skills that each said they had to learn.

“Cold calling on customers was definitely new to me,” said Poland. “I quickly overcame any fears I had about it because I’d set goals for myself. Early on, I worked as hard as I could to make as many customer visits as possible in a day and it worked. It was amazing for me to see the results that you can get when you put your head down and work hard.”

Bottcher agreed with Poland on hard work and initiative being the key to success, noting “Pratt is unique in that our leadership really lets sales representatives manage their territories and client lists as if they are our own small businesses with goals and objectives. I’m not micromanaged, but instead, I’m empowered to try new things and grow my customer list in a way that works for me, my customers and ultimately, the company.”

Since joining Pratt, all three have experienced professional growth opportunities through promotions and educational offerings. Poland is now the sales manager at our converting plant in Nashville, TN where he manages a team of salespeople while supporting the plant’s customer service and design teams. Bottcher and Fields both work at two of Pratt’s newer facilities and look forward to potentially advancing to management roles in the future.

“Pratt, as a company, devotes time and resources into developing their employees and facilities to make it a wonderful place to work,” said Fields. “It’s exciting to work for a company that puts its people first while also continually investing in facilities with new technologies and machines.”

All agree that interning at Pratt can pave the way for a future career. They share that while Pratt is a large company, it has a small feel to it with leaders who encourage building relationships with others and who encourage growth opportunities for employees and interns alike.

“Our internships are a great way to get your feet wet and be immersed in real life tasks that help us run our facilities,” said Poland. “And after internships, we offer some of the best career opportunities in sales right out of school. With a little hard work paired with the tools that Pratt provides sales people, the opportunities are endless.”

For more information on internships and career opportunities for students and recent graduates visit our Careers site.

Pratt Industries provides equal employment opportunities to applicants and employees without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, protected veteran status, or disability.