Alumni Career Spotlight: Ryan Antisdel

Ryan Antisdel, DB 2011

Ryan Antisdel, DB 2011

Ryan Antisdel is a 2011 graduate of the Master of Business Administration program at the Daytona Beach campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Ryan was interested in aviation, but his interest in using his degree within another industry called to him more.

Through hard work, perseverance and focus on his goal, he has been able to cross into the automotive industry and successfully utilize his ERAU MBA degree to pursue his career passion.

As an alumnus of the MBA program at ERAU Daytona Beach, tell us how you ended up in the automotive industry and what you like the most about your current position/company.

Working in the automotive industry has been a life long goal. My very first job began as an entrepreneur, and it involved starting my own car detailing business. As time progressed I held various positions with several motorcycle dealers, including BMW, Ducati, Honda and Triumph. During my time at ERAU, I worked as a graduate assistant with the EcoCAR program as an outreach coordinator, which was sponsored jointly by GM and the Department of Energy. The EcoCAR program gave me a great deal of insight into the difficulties of engineering a hybrid vehicle along with exposure to media highlights such as meeting Federal Congressman John Mica.

Immediately following my time with EcoCAR, I was selected to join BMW Manufacturing for a 6-month internship and worked for the Human Resources department while specializing in Technical Training. The highlight of this position was being surrounded by major manufacturing, German culture, and being able to drive camouflaged prototypes that other people dream of even seeing.

All of the positions mentioned above helped to open the doors for a job at American Honda Motors as a Sales Analyst. My favorite part about this position is having the ability to see exactly how vehicles are sold and marketed from the factory, regional, or field level. Another great part about this position is being able to meet unique Honda Dealer Principals; one for example has a family history in automotive racing. The general public goes into a dealership and has no perception of how much effort and coordination it takes, months in advance, to make it all work. Honda developed this position to help entry associates gain essential skills and knowledge before becoming a District Sales Manager. Obtaining a role that contains a diverse portfolio of training and encourages questions is exactly what I require to further develop a solid foundation in the automotive industry.

As your career positions have been in a typically non-traditional industry for Embry-Riddle alumni, how did your ERAU degree prepare you to be successful in this industry?

ERAU gave me a unique insight to the world of aviation and the complexities of that business. While a class may have focused specifically on Boeing vs. Airbus, I was always thinking in terms of automotive companies like GM vs. Toyota. Aviation and the automotive industry have similar fundamentals. They all require engineering, design, manufacturing, logistics, product planning and sales/marketing to name a few. ERAU prepared me to think of the corporation as a whole and conversely on an international level. Instead of load factor per flight per day, I am now thinking in terms of vehicle sales per dealer per day. While the labels may have changed, the task and objective remain the same: maximize sales to remain competitive.

During my studies some of the courses actually had case studies within the automotive industry which were beneficial, and if they didn’t, I would be the student who always would try to make the problem fit into the automotive industry. I still recall an instance where Lamborghini was working with Boeing on new composite structures, both for their upcoming products that were being developed. Even though an Italian supercar has very little in common with a several hundred passenger aircraft, there is still a connection; you just need to look closely.

A degree from ERAU prepared me in too many ways to list, even my 65 hours of flight training helps with understanding some vehicle dynamics. However, it is the combination of my degree and the applied experiences that have led to my success in this industry.

What advice do you have for a current MBA student, that would help them after graduation?

Start applying for internships, graduate assistantships and part-time jobs during your first semester. While I was fortunate to have an amazing 6-month internship at BMW Manufacturing, I waited too long and missed the opportunity to have a second one. The key is to take the initiative and apply right away. Secondly, if you have a passion for a certain field or company, look at all of your options. For example, I had to apply to BMW North America and BMW Manufacturing separately. You want as much experience as you can obtain before you start applying for a permanent position, so do not sit idle and expect to be handed a job. Another piece of advice would be to not rely on anyone but you. I had several reliable connections that fell through along with many of my colleagues, and that was of course very discouraging. Never give up and always keep looking ahead.

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Spellcheck, Both Friend and Foe

by Kristy Amburgey

I love spellcheck!  I rely on this system tool just as I would a dear friend.  Its seemingly endless wealth of knowledge gently points out my mistakes and goes ahead and solves my spelling and grammatical errors.

But as can be with friendships, there are challenges.  Spellcheck does not capture all the errors, misspellings, wording confusion and other writing issues.  Alas, this friendly system can become one of your biggest foes if you don’t follow up the spellcheck with a thorough review of your own.  If something is in all caps, spellcheck won’t identify spelling errors.  If a word is spelled correctly but misused, the system rarely gives you notice.  When words have more than one spelling option, multiple meanings, and other issues, our dear-old spellcheck just won’t give you a straight answer about them.

Here are a few tips to remain friendly with spellcheck and ensure it is working for you.

  • Use the all-caps effect when formatting your document: instead of turning on the caps lock, type out all words intended for caps first; once spellcheck has been able to review it, go back and use the text or font effects for all caps
  • Select the “Use Contextual Spelling” and “Automatic Grammar Checking” options in Microsoft Office: these options will further help you with solving wording and grammar confusion (check out all the proofing options in Microsoft Office to select the best option for you)
  • Watch for words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings: dual/duel, hear/here,principal/principle, threw/through, to/too/two
  • Know that some words sound somewhat similar but mean different things: accept/except, affect/effect, assure/ensure/insure, chose/choose, farther/further, lose/loose, than/then
  • Catch words that are spelled correctly but are often misused or interchanged for another word: collage/college, Embry/Emery/Emory, except/ expect, major/mayor, performed/preformed, personal/personnel, summary/summery, were/where
  • Pay special attention to verb tenses that can cause confusion: lead/led
  • Be aware that even just one letter off can completely change the meaning of a word: advance/advanced, appraise/apprise
  • Understand the difference between contractions, to combine two words, and words of possession: it’s (it is)/its, they’re (they are)/their/there, you’re (you are)/your

Admittedly, such a topic seems straightforward and nothing that is out of the ordinary.  The reality is that all of the above errors have at one time or another been found in resume reviews.  These errors occur, some of them (I am talking to you preformed) quite often.  Many of these glitches can be contributed to overly fast typing, distraction or just a common mistake.  Sometimes, you may need to do more to prevent these errors like implementing the use of grammar-based websites, dictionaries and other resources to learn about the words or subjects in question.  Remember, an employer is looking for any reason to eliminate your resume from further review.  Please don’t give a company an easily prevented grammar or spelling error as reason to toss your resume to the side.  Use your friend, spellcheck, to catch common errors.  But you also want to ensure that you thoroughly review your document for things that slip through the system.

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years and with Career Services for nine years.

Is My Summer Experience Worth Sharing?

by Lisa Kollar

I recently found myself in a quandary on where I truly stand on the relevancy of summer employment. This happened after a career advisor shared a recent discussion she had with a company recruiter about a student’s employment experience as a lifeguard.  The recruiter recommended removing the lifeguarding experience from the resume.  Although I can respect the difference of opinions, it was the fact that the recruiter found no value in having the experience listed on the student’s resume that bothered me the most.  The conversation sparked my interest in exploring others’ views on summer and other unrelated work experiences and coming to a conclusion.

To dive in, I wanted to share a conversation I had with an ERAU alumnus who actually became a professional lifeguard.   In our discussion about the topic, the person shared that being a lifeguard was more than someone who sat all day, had a great tan, or had no problem wearing a bathing suit.  It required dedicated people who were willing to take others’ lives in their hands, and they completed rigorous training and physical tests that tested their limits.  Lifeguards had to remain engaged throughout their shifts, have the ability to forecast potential situations and interact with the public and many personality types from a variety of organizations. Lifeguarding, often thought of as just summer employment, gave the participants multiple and valuable skill sets that could translate into many industries.

After the conversation and after conducting more research on the topic of the value of summer employment, I came to understand and value these general professional and soft-skills building experiences.  I also couldn’t help feeling sad that an employer would rule out such experience, thus potentially negating candidates’ skills and accomplishments.  Why exclude such transferrable traits gained through summer work experiences?  Wouldn’t any entry-level hiring manager seek a candidate with a strong work ethic, the ability to communicate with people, and time management skills, to name a few?  Combine these general work accomplishments with strong academic preparedness from a reputable institution, and I’m sure the candidate will be a valued asset to an organization. As a professional developer and mentor to the career-minded, I’m not discounting the value of relevant experience, but I have found that students who have had ANY kind of job throughout their college careers can be equally successful.

Still feeling perplexed a bit even after confirming where I stood on the subject, I finally identified the disconnect between an employer finding value in summer employment and a recruiter who did not see it.  The issue seems to come from a person’s ability to market his or her skills on the resume, via networking and during an interview.  A student who communicates and explains how his or her previous experiences relate to the job is much more likely to have an employer who understands the value of his or her summer or part-time jobs.

So here’s my advice to anyone with work experiences that may not relate exactly to the job being pursued.  Throughout your summer work experience, make note of every time you took initiative, volunteered, worked overtime, went above and beyond for a customer, took on another responsibility, or got recognition for doing a great job.  You then want to review these notes and recount the experiences, asking yourself what transferrable skills can be listed on your resume and explained in an interview for any position.  After you have found a position you desire, review the job description to identify areas where you can apply any of these transferrable skills and how you can share this during an interview.

In my research, I was able to talk with other recruiters and identify students who had successfully accomplished this, which definitely reinforces that any work experience can be valuable. So we finish with answering the question, “Is my summer experience worth sharing?” My answer is…YES.  But really take the time to identify the experiences and skills gained through the job and how it can transfer to your professional career.  Then it’s all about how you deliver it to the recruiter!

Lisa Scott Kollar is the Executive Director, Career Services. She completed B.S. and M.S.A. degrees from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and has her C-MEL-I. Lisa has over eighteen years of management experience with fourteen years of experience in higher education leadership roles.  She is consistently successful in strategic planning and marketing for Embry-Riddle’s comprehensive Career Services.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Kristen Seaman

Kristen Seaman, DB 2009

Kristen Seaman is a May 2009 graduate of the Applied Meteorology program at the Daytona Beach campus. She is currently a Coordinator for the Communications Department at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and is in flight training working toward her Private Pilot Certificate (see photo of her t-shirt cutting after her first solo flight).

As a meteorology graduate, what made you decide to enter the field of communications?

I actually have a minor in Professional Communication from ERAU in addition to my Applied Meteorology degree. However, written and verbal communication has always been a strength of mine, dating back to my spelling bee days in elementary school. I think that my concentration in media, as well as my minor, set me up perfectly for a career in communications. I took many writing and television courses that strengthened my writing and presentation skills.

How have your education and previous experiences prepared you for your position at AOPA?

My job at AOPA is multifaceted. As a coordinator, I work directly under our Vice President of Communications, as well as with a team of media, PR, and event planning professionals. What someone might not expect is how much I actually integrate my degree into my job. Because everyone knows that I was meteorology major, I was asked to be our on-site meteorologist for the major air shows that we attend each year. This year at Sun ’n Fun, I sent out a forecast to our team each morning and monitored the meteorological conditions throughout the day so that we were prepared for any potential severe weather events. I am also heading up a new initiative at AOPA that includes revamping our emergency procedures, as well as bringing in a National Weather Service representative to do Storm Spotter training for our employees. I had this training as an ERAU student.

How has your Embry-Riddle degree opened doors for you in the course of your career?

My career path thus far has had its twists and turns through a combination of great mentors, connections made through former classmates, and internship opportunities. During my junior year, I had an internship that included writing two articles for publishing in Weatherwise magazine. Since then, I have received other offers to write articles, and I have also been invited for the second year in a row to speak about aviation weather at the Howard University Weather Camp. Additionally, my previous and current jobs were both found through the Weekly Job List sent out by Career Services.

What advice do you have for graduates who are considering a career outside of their degree?

Someone considering a career outside of their degree should know that just because your job title doesn’t include the words “Meteorologist,” “Engineer” “Pilot,” etc., it doesn’t mean that you won’t apply the skills that you learned from your degree program in your position. Most people make the decision on what to major in at a young age, when they aren’t completely sure of their strengths. Your degree is just a starting point, and you may eventually find yourself at a job within your field that doesn’t fulfill your expectations. The connections you make in college and beyond will take you farther than you ever thought possible.  Don’t underestimate the value of a connection outside your field. Just like you, your former classmates and colleagues have probably taken different paths throughout their careers. Network connections are always a great resource when you begin considering other options that peak your interest. Next time you’re sitting in class or attending an alumni event, look around. The person next to you could be the key to landing your next great opportunity.

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