Spring Career Conference attracts hundreds of employers

Alumni enjoy returning to UW-Stout and recruiting future interns, workers
Dave Bartels, of Haskell Company, at left, talks with UW-Stout student Aaron Kurschner during the Spring Career Conference at UW-Stout Thursday, March 3.
Pam Powers | March 4, 2020

University of Wisconsin-Stout alumnus Dave Bartels found being on the hiring end of the Spring Career Conference a bit more relaxing than when he was a student and looking for an internship.

Bartels, director of strategic planning and development for Haskell Company, an architectural, engineering, consulting and construction company based in Jacksonville, Fla., attended his first career conference Tuesday, March 3, looking to attract UW-Stout students to the company.

“My palms were a lot sweatier when I was on the other side than they are today,” Bartels quipped.

Bartels, who graduated with a degree in manufacturing engineering in 1990, encouraged his company to recruit at his alma mater. “I know the culture of my company and the business needs we have,” he said. “I see an incredible opportunity knowing the capabilities and the quality of students UW-Stout puts out.”

Philip Soviak, of Medtronic, at right, explains a medical device to UW-Stout student Rayna Figueroa during the Spring Career Conference

Haskell Company was recruiting for construction majors, manufacturing engineering, mechanical engineering and packaging students.

Bartels’ family is very familiar with UW-Stout. Bartels’ son, Reese, is a first-year student at UW-Stout majoring in construction, and his wife, Michelle, is a 1991 graduate in early childhood development. His brother-in-law and Michelle’s parents are also UW-Stout alumni.

Bartel’s advice to students as they start their careers is to ‘find an industry you are passionate about and to and work in the industry. The rest will follow.”

Aaron Kurschner, a sophomore packaging major from Sun Prairie, spoke to Bartels at the Spring Career Conference and was impressed with the Haskell Company. Attending the career conference was important to Kurschner and he enjoyed having the opportunity to meet 76 employers seeking his major. “I like to talk to people about my career and see where to go with my future and see what I need to learn,” he said.

Alumnus Philip Soviak, who works as a packaging engineer for the structural heart division of Medtronic in Brooklyn Park, Minn., was at the Spring Career Conference for Medtronic.

The 2018 packaging graduate said being at the conference is a great opportunity to recruit fresh talent from UW-Stout students for his company. He also knows what it is like to be looking for that internship.

Soviak got an internship in 2016 with Medtronic and was hired before he graduated to work fulltime at the company. He loves working at Medtronic. “I like just knowing I am making a difference in people’s lives,” Soviak said. “We are extending people’s lives and improving their health.”

Rayna Figueroa, a senior packaging major from Manitowoc, said she enjoys the career conference and has gotten two paid cooperative internships through the conference. “The companies are right here on campus,” she said. “Companies are here to meet you and hire you.”

Her co-op internships were at Medtronic in the fall of 2019 and Smucker’s jam company in Orville, Ohio in spring 2018.

Bryan BartsThe Spring Career Conference held Tuesday, March 3, and Wednesday, March 4, had 330 employers and about 2,000 students were expected to attend, said UW-Stout Director of Career Services Bryan Barts. This spring there were 53 new employers at the career conference and 80 companies doing on-campus interviews.

The conference allows students to explore their career options, see how their program applies in a company and co-op internships help prepare students for their career, Barts said.

Employers get introduced and meet the quality students at UW-Stout, Barts said. “Companies can increase their visibility and brand with students, especially new students,” he added, noting employers can also have networking meetings with students.

The Fall Career Conference is scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 29-30 at the UW-Stout Sports and Fitness Center.


Philip Soviak, of Medtronic, at right, explains a medical device to UW-Stout student Rayna Figueroa during the Spring Career Conference

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