Intern Zachary Stading: My Experience with Verdis Group
“My name is Zachary Stading. I have worked as an intern with Verdis group since August of this year. It is a very hard-working, but light-hearted group.
Everyone likes the satisfaction of crossing something off of his or her to-do list. One of the enjoyable parts of working with Verdis Group was that I was constantly getting small projects out of the current work that other team members were doing to supplement my personal projects. Examples include pulling together the acknowledgements page for UNO’s Sustainability Master Plan, helping analyze some of the data from surveys, compiling lists of sustainability strategies as a reference for clients, and researching alternative methods for sending out online surveys. This gave me a break from my own projects while providing great work experience, a sense of accomplishment, and made me feel like part of the team.
I had three big projects that I worked on independently. The first was researching universities in the region to assess which ones Verdis Group could potentially partner with in the future. The second was compiling survey data for the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The third was performing a greenhouse gas emissions inventory for Verdis Group.
The greenhouse gas emissions inventory was by far the most educational. I chose my own direction for the inventory such as what utilities and company activities I would try to account for. I had to make my own survey and send it out to the team to gather information. I was also able talk with other professionals to get information about our office expenses while working on my networking skills. Then I chose to compile that information into metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is the industry standard comparative tool. I wrote up my methods so this inventory could be replicated in future years and drafted a report for the team. Finally, I was allowed to present all of my findings to the team and get their responses, questions, and suggestions.
While working with Verdis Group, I found that I have a lot of learning left to do when it comes to using survey tools. I had never known the depth to which surveys could be analyzed or how critical surveys could be when it comes to making business decisions. Another important skill I learned was that not all business comes to you; you need a strategy for going to get it. I learned how to narrow down potential partners and clients by researching organizations’ previous activities. As someone who is struggling to figure out how to search for a post-graduate job over 1600 miles away, I found this to be a very helpful analytical tool. The last key thing that I learned was that who you work with is often more important than what you are working on. When you work with a nice group of people any project can be completed with little boredom and even less stress.
One thing that I was very happy to learn from this experience is that there are people out there, like me, who want to make the world a more sustainable place to live, while still being able to pay the bills. I was also happy to find that many of the simple programs and analysis skills that I have learned during my time at Creighton University can be readily applied to a work environment. I am very grateful for this internship because I want to work as a sustainability consultant for my career. This opportunity gave me confidence as a graduating senior that I will be able to compete for a position at a sustainability company and be a valuable member of the team.”