Internships, supported by an AU endowment fund, have Wenzinger’s career on fast track

Published on April 18, 2022

ASHLAND, Ohio – Before enrolling at Ashland University, Ross Wenzinger was a firm believer in the value of internships. Now just a few months since graduating in December and successfully employed as a master scheduler for Libbey Glass in Toledo, Ohio, he advocates for them even more.

A couple of intern positions, supported with a financial assist from an endowment fund, have jumpstarted Wenzinger’s career in the supply chain management industry. His ascending career is evidence that he was wise to choose AU, which he did in large part due to the Dauch College of Business and Economics’ emphasis on internships. “The campus was amazing, but what really pushed me to AU was (its) internship program. It is a graduation requirement for nearly every business major,” he said.

First, Wenzinger landed an operations management intern position at Ohio Logistics Warehousing and Transportation, conveniently located near his hometown just outside of Findlay, Ohio. While his duties were mostly general, he did pick up on important life skills, such as attention to detail, time management and communication.

Wenzinger parlayed that experience into a supply chain internship at Libbey, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of glass tableware products. His responsibilities expanded significantly throughout the internship, as he began scheduling production for a plant in China and another in Columbia while tracking container shipments, processing documents to be able to clear customs and helping the warehouse with receiving issues.

The one drawback to internships, though, is the pay or lack thereof. While most positions offer a stipend or some sort of income these days, they frequently don’t cover the basic necessities. That’s where some generous supporters of AU—Sue Heimann, the retired vice president of student affairs and dean of students, and her husband, Mike—have come in to help students like Wenzinger. They have established the Sue Heimann Professional Enrichment Endowment Fund, which offers grants to students engaging in applied learning experiences outside the classroom.

Wenzinger feels indebted to the Heimanns and their spirit of giving. “Sue Heimann helped me out with a scholarship over a summer while I was in college. This helped with the basic expenses I had – gas, housing and groceries. As we know, most internships do not pay very well. Her generosity enabled me to go after the internship that was going to give me the best experience, instead of only judging off of if I can afford to take the opportunity financially. I will be forever grateful to Sue and her generosity to a complete stranger,” he said.

Without that aid, Wenzinger may not have wound up with the internship at Libbey and in turn a professional career with Libbey. Today, as master scheduler, he is scheduling production in four international plants (China, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand) and working with brokers to get the product shipped to the U.S., all while continuing to gain experience in one of the fastest growing and most important fields there is when it comes to global commerce.

“As I researched more, I realized how versatile supply chain is in the world of business. There is an element of supply chain management in every business out there. With the world continuing to grow more global, supply chain majors are going to do nothing but grow in demand,” Wenzinger reflected.

While other teenagers and young adults may not be as certain about what career path to take as Wenzinger was at an early age, his premonition on the value of an internship was validated maybe even more than he realized at the time. “I want to emphasize going out and doing internships. (They) give you an idea of different aspects of business that you enjoy and areas that one might not like either,” he noted. “Look into doing them during the semester too. Most students don’t even consider it, but it isn’t that difficult to navigate the schedule of school and the internship.”

That especially holds true when there is built in support both academically from the faculty within the Dauch College of Business and Economics and financially from the Sue Heimann Professional Enrichment Endowment Fund.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.