“You only get out of education what you put into it,” says Adam
Christopher Austin ’11. “If you can make yourself indispensable to
a company during an internship, they may want to make your
Austin just completed his first internship in the commercial
sales and marketing department of Taco Inc., an industry leader
in hydronic systems for residential and commercial buildings,
headquartered in Cranston, R.I. He’s been invited back for a second
internship in their engineering department in the fall.
It began in January when Austin, an engineering design and
configuration management major, stepped into the Technology
Career Fair. His experiential education coordinator, Trudy Michaud,
excitedly informed him of an internship that would suit his
background. She introduced Austin to Nan Quinlan, Taco’s training
and development manager. He talked about his JWU major, his
experience and his associate degree in mechanical engineering
technology from the Community College of Rhode Island.
For five years Austin worked at Chemical Systems Services Inc.
in Attleboro, Mass. Starting as a plastic and metal welder constructing
heat transfer and pumping packages, he graduated to draftsman designer,
taking his knowledge from building packages to designing
them. “I had a great deal of experience with Taco products and their
distributors. When I mentioned this, Nan Quinlan immediately
handed me her card, and requested my résumé,” Austin says.
Older brother, Dennis Austin Jr. ’05, had recommended JWU
to Adam, who was interesed in pursuing a bachelor’s degree. “CCRI
and JWU have a great relationship which allowed me to transfer a
large amount of credits,” says Austin. That and the quality of the
program made his decision to come to JWU very simple.
Austin’s Taco internship had him assisting with a product launch
package. He coordinated marketing with an agency, researched
competitors and developed strategy documents, technical literature
and spreadsheets on product information. He collaborated with
engineering, updated CAD drawings and used product development
and timeline management software. “I constantly find myself relating
the knowledge areas discussed in class with my internship … [It] has
been truly an eye-opening experience,” he says.
Austin acknowledges his parents, Associate Professor Clarence
King and many at Taco for an enjoyable and educational experience.
“Especially product manager Gene Fina ’08 who guided and worked
with me during every stage of the project,” he says. “He’s been a great
mentor and friend who I admire and respect. It’s helpful to have
supportive alumni who can make recommendations to you while
you fulfill your education.”
Vice president of Experiential Education & Career Services
(EE&CS), Maureen Dumas, recognizes what a supportive environment
Taco has provided JWU interns and alumni. It starts with their
president, John Hazen White Jr. ’96 Hon. A member of the JWU
Board of Trustees and longtime friend and donor, White “understands
the evolving role of EE&CS and believes our students bring
a lot to the table,” says Dumas. That Taco hired Abel D’Anello ’10
and many JWU interns including Austin and Poon Shing Chi ’11 is
a sign that “we are meeting expectations.”
“Taco has been fortunate to have two JWU interns,” says Quinlan.
“We are impressed with their work ethic, technical aptitude and great
attitude. They more than met our expectations by fully immersing
themselves in projects, willingly sharing responsibilities with their
project team, staying late to help meet deadlines, and delivering
quality work throughout their time with us.”