Josh Cameon works for ALS in Knorr Student Center. (Josh Pradko/Collegian)
Josh Cameon works for ALS in Knorr Student Center. Josh Pradko | Col­legian

Inside a former storage closet in the Knorr Student Center, Mary Mar­garet Peter ’14 is working hard, having altered the space to accom­modate her and three part-time interns.

She is working for Auto­mated Logistics Systems, or ALS. The supply-chain man­agement company began its rela­tionship with Hillsdale College last year, when its vice pres­ident of business devel­opment — Paul McDonald, whose daughter attended the college — con­tacted the career ser­vices office about hiring December grad­uates. After some inter­views, however, ALS learned Hillsdale stu­dents didn’t fully under­stand its industry, Assistant Director of Career Ser­vices John Quint said. The company started a Hillsdale office to offer stu­dents the oppor­tunity to learn.

“I had no idea what the logistics industry was,” Peter said of when she was first hired.

The former storage closet is a small branch of the trans­portation bro­kerage company. ALS coor­di­nates with both cus­tomers and trans­portation com­panies to move goods and freight around the world. Head­quar­tered in Jackson, Michigan, ALS has branches in Laredo, Texas, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well.

Cred­iting her edu­cation in the liberal arts, Peter said she used her skills of problem solving, critical thinking, and writing to gain an under­standing of the work so dif­ferent from her exercise science major.

As an inside sales exec­utive, she now oversees the three-session, year-round internship program. The program aims to teach stu­dents about sales, supply chain man­agement, and logistics and provide an envi­ronment for stu­dents to apply those skills in a work setting, Peter said.

The ses­sions, which begin at the start of each semester, kick off with a one-week seminar in which stu­dents learn the par­tic­ulars of the company itself, the supply chain industry, making sales within that industry, and other rel­evant skills. Summer interns work a full 40 hours per week, while fall and spring interns have a more flexible schedule. The stu­dents perform a variety of tasks, including making sales calls and com­piling cus­tomer rela­tionship infor­mation.

Intern junior Josh Cameon said he appre­ciates the oppor­tunity to put his double major in eco­nomics and math­e­matics to use in tackling data projects, such as ana­lyzing labor effi­ciency and preparing revenue reports.

“It ties in a lot of applied math in a business setting,” Cameon said.

Career ser­vices hopes to foster more of these close rela­tion­ships with local employers in the future, Quint said.

“We’re all ears,” he said.