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My Summer as a Safety Superhero

Hanson, Erik.jpgAs the end neared for my Junior year at Whitewater, I began my hunt for an internship. My online search offered endless opportunities for how I could spend my summer, but one position stood out from the rest - "HNI's Safety Superhero." I quickly began imagining my cape, what my super power would be, and if I was going to finally meet Batman or not. Simply put - I was hooked.

I quickly applied, got an interview, and patiently waited to see if I was offered a job to be a superhero for the summer. Finally, the offer came through and I kicked off one of the greatest summers of my life.

40 different companies within 3 months

HNI embodies flexibility and variety. I can honestly say there was not a single day I spent bored. Every week, I met with a different client and got to work on their safety programs, training employees, and auditing their job sites. In fact, I met with 40 different companies in my three month span at HNI. I truly felt like a superhero after seeing the impact my team made. No making coffee for this guy - I spent my time making meaningful change and solidifying why I chose Safety as my career path in life. 

Additionally, my hours were very flexible. As a superhero, some days are long, some are short - you never know when your help will be needed. 

A True Mentor

The most impactful part of my internship was working alongside Kyle Meinert, HNI Risk Advisor. I learned a lot more in a car ride to and from visiting clients than I could have sitting at a desk for the duration of the summer.

Shadowing his audits, listening to his discussions with clients, and hearing his advice truly tied together what I had been learning in the classroom. This internship was unlike any other.

I learned the dos and don’ts of our industry, the importance of driving value within a company's safety program, and why the career I have chosen is so important. The lessons he shared with me are ones that will stick with me for the rest of my career.

Interns, listen up!

My advice to future interns is to know that you are not a pro - and that's okay! The most important thing I did in my internship was challenge myself to learn something new every day and to build upon it every day after.

You get out of an internship what you put into it, so work hard, ask questions, and soak up as much knowledge as possible. Luckily for me, my internship did just that by challenging me to break out of my comfort zone and try new things.

I would like to thank HNI for all that it has given me as I continue my career as a young Safety Professional. The lessons I learned this summer will be a great foundation for wherever my career takes me.

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