Summer At IBT, Part 2

Summer At IBT, Part 2

Brian McDonald, a member of the class of 2010 at University of Nebraska Kearney, is pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Distribution, with a minor in Political Science.

He is an Industrial Distribution Organization Leadership Team member. McDonald is originally from Axtell, Nebraska. He is interning with IBT this summer. This is the second installment of his observations on life in IBT-Land.

My First Week On The Job

My first day on the job for IBT was in Joplin, Missouri. IBT was offering a three-day technical training school for employees of local customers. So, I was immediately tossed out of the college text-book frying pan and shoved into the IBT product knowledge fire.

There were approximately twenty-one of us being instructed on everything from proper lubrication of chains, bearings and gearboxes to a multitude of Loctite® applications. We also learned about V-belts vs. chain drives.

I found this a great experience because I was familiar with IBT’s product lines from research I had done on my own. However, being taught by professional sales representatives from the suppliers, I was truly able to wrap my mind around a lot of IBT’s “hot sellers” while learning how to install and use them properly.

All in all, my first three days on the job with IBT were great. It gave me an initiation that took me through a fast-paced learning curve and seemed to be a perfect place for an intern like me to be, since everything was new. Thanks for the technical boot camp IBT!

One of the most memorable times was not about technical products, but about food. We ate at a little hole-in-the-wall diner that is totally famous throughout Joplin. Ask anyone in the town and they will tell you the scoop on the renowned “greasy-spoon” called Fred and Red’s. It is said to have been a favorite stop of Mickey Mantle.

It’s also said that the building was won in a local poker tournament back in the 1920s. Their famous dish is Spaghetti Red. It entails a not so modest heap of spaghetti topped with a coronary load of spicy red chili. Ken Prettyman, Gary Hense and I all walked out of there rubbing our bellies and wanting to adjust our belts out a hole or two. It was a great time!

The following day I was taken to see one of the top ranked IBT branches in Joplin. They were the sponsors of the PT training school. There I met John Hughes, a former minor league baseball player and current Joplin store manager. He introduced me to his inside sales crew, and I then toured their warehouse.

John took me under his wing and spoke to me about his business methodologies; which, I’m sure was at the 101 level, instead of the “graduate level.” We all know that few former athletes and good businessmen such as John are that eager to spill all of their hard-learned talents after a firm handshake from a rookie businessman like me.

However, he did go on telling me about what he enjoys doing for IBT to keep things running as smoothly as possible. He said, “The key to my top-ranked branch is employee cohesiveness and camaraderie amongst everyone I have under me. Without them, we are nobody.”

It was a pleasure meeting John, and after we said our goodbyes and good lucks, I was then on the road with Ken Prettyman, to the Chanute KS branch. There, I was able see how a different branch operated. Ken Prettyman explained his role with IBT and what he does as a Regional Operations Manager.

I had a great first week with IBT; from powering through the product boot-camp, to eating Fred and Red’s, on to visiting John at the Joplin branch and finally my time shadowing Ken down in Chanute. It was all very good and very informative – if a little overwhelming.

My First Life Lesson

Being two semesters away from finishing college, I am still soaking up the world like a sponge. Coming to Kansas City and IBT for my internship has enriched my mind with real world professionalism and business methods.

There have been numerous life lessons learned while working with IBT. The first and most important life lesson is this: A college student’s sleep schedule and an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. real world job do not mix!

When 2 p.m. rolled around and my head was bouncing like a bobble head on the dash of a monster truck, I knew it was time to turn it around. As a result, I have been more disciplined with getting some rest. I am now to the point where I follow my new and improved schedule. This consists of going to sleep about the same time as my grandfather would, allowing myself to wake up with enough time to cook myself some breakfast.

Life In KC For A Guy From Nebraska

One key aspect of me selecting IBT was that it was located in Kansas City. I feel Kansas City is one of the best Mid-Western cities. It has college sports, professional sports, great restaurants, trails, malls, nice golf courses – and some of the most courteous people in the region.

Here I have also been able to eat world class BBQ at the most popular and highly acclaimed BBQ house in KC called Jack Stack Barbecue.

I am also a fitness junkies and Gold’s Gym is just a five minute drive from my house, and when I’m finished there, Smiley’s Driving Range is only a fifteen minute drive from there; so I toss my clubs in and go practice my swing.

There are a couple other students from UNK down here working at their internships this summer. We have gotten together for a Royal’s game and on Worlds of Fun’s MAMBA®, one of the tallest, longest and fastest roller coasters in the world.

I also have a list of restaurants that I am working my way through before I leave in August. Eating seems to be a favorite hobby here in Kansas City. So far Jack Stack Barbecue has been my favorite.

To top off our summer, on August 15th five guys and my girlfriend and I are all going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane and skydive. I am afraid of heights so it’s going to be quite a feat for me. We are all excited.

So, in short, Kansas City has been an ideal location for me. The people, city and things to do have remarkably catered to all my hobbies and interests quite well, it’s been a pleasure to live here. And, during my time at IBT, I have learned a great deal that will help me in my final year at UNK – and, I am confident, in my subsequent career in industrial distribution.


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