December 6, 2017
Gage Wilkinson worked on many Ventures projects as a student intern, including the Sloan Water Bottle and OmniSite’s SmarteLight. Wilkinson now works full time for OmniSite in Indianapolis.
For as long as Gage Wilkinson can remember, he’s liked building things. That’s what led him into engineering. But it wasn’t until his junior year at Rose-Hulman – when he started a Ventures internship – that everything clicked.
“When I walked into Ventures, it was, like, ‘Whoa! This is what being a mechanical engineer can mean,’” he recalls.
Wilkinson loved working at Ventures so much, he kept it up for two solid years, including summers. One of his many Ventures projects, for Indianapolis-based OmniSite, would lead him to take a full-time job with the company after graduation in 2016. Today, much of what he likes about his work at OmniSite, which makes cellular/web-based alarm monitors for critical systems, is that it builds on the creative problem-solving experience he received at Ventures.
As a student, “Ventures really was an oasis for me,” Wilkinson remembers. “It was entirely project- and performance-based. I could just set aside the intensity of schoolwork and have some fun.”
Wilkinson is not alone in translating his Ventures experience into a job after college. Bruce Sprowl’s work at Ventures helped him land a job with SCP Limited, an Auburn, Indiana-based maker of high-temperature ignition components. A recommendation from a Ventures project manager got the 2014 Rose-Hulman graduate noticed by the company.
Bruce Sprowl (right) worked on several projects at Ventures, including an all-terrain wheelchair, insulation testing equipment and a thermal window shade. He also authored the operations manual for a Ventures 3-D printer. His internship at Ventures helped him land his current job at SCP Limited.
“Working at SCP feels a lot like Ventures,” Sprowl says. “SCP has a startup feel. Working on a project… 10 hours will just blow by. That’s extremely fun.”
Fully aware of its creative potential, former interns often bring projects back to their Ventures roots, giving them a chance to work with the project managers who once served as their supervisors.
“I’m in constant contact with my former supervisors,” Sprowl says. “Working with them as actual colleagues is really cool.”
“I just got off the phone with Ventures,” Wilkinson says, adding he fondly remembers tossing ideas back and forth with his project managers as an intern.
“Everything is new and exciting when you work at Ventures,” he says. “It’s still exciting.”
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