Breakfast with Billionaires: Meeting the Board of Directors! Oh, and the end of my Supply Rotation and my trip to Boston…
*Note*: Brain hurt? Too tired to read all the tiny words on the screen? Don’t worry, I’ve been there! (Try all the time…). Scroll down to the bottom of the post for fun pictures!!! As they say, after all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?
*Note #2*: Oh, and also, I wrote this post a week ago and am just now posting it…so at the end of the post when I wish interviewees luck at final rounds – already done, offers made, hope you all did well! 🙂 And enjoy the read!
So I am now officially done with my supply training: 8.5 weeks filled with technical learning, leadership development and tackling difficult projects in order to better the can line production & conversion processes. I can now proudly say that I have mastered the basic technical functioning of the can lines, managed shift for the production all three can lines at the Fort Collins brewery (at once) all on my own, and presented my ideas to increase the efficiency of the conversion of one of the lines from 16oz to sleek 12oz Michelob Ultra cans and increase the accountability and effectiveness of the utility operators (basically, operators in charge of giving breaks to other operators and taking care of many variable miscellaneous activities on the line – hard to keep track of and standardize!) to the Senior Management Team at the Fort Collins Brewery. Not bad accomplishments and opportunities for a two-month period of being in a brewery, the first time ever in a production environment, and the first time dealing with mechanical engineering concepts in my life, if I must say so! It’s been a hard and stressful and time-consuming and tiring and incredible and inspiring and developmental opportunity and I wouldn’t change it for the world. And yesterday, back in corporate, I found out that next February I will sit and earn a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Brewing and Packaging of Beer (FBPB) from the Institute of Brewing & Distilling (IBD), a course covering the basic processes, engineering concepts and quality issues associated with brewing and packaging…so soon I’ll be an expert on all parts of the process! Talk about getting out of your comfort zone! Long gone are my comfortable days playing with different marketing concepts & calculating financials at Haas. But I can’t truly say I mind; although it’s difficult and has definitely stressed me as a person and as a professional, it’s been a crazy but incredible opportunity to get such opportunities that my major would never have given me had I not gotten into this program. So definitely cool!
It was hard and easy leaving Fort Collins in order to come back to corporate in St. Louis. I’m definitely going to miss Old Town, which was a fun college downtown area I went out and got a few beers at every weekend with people in the brewery, and Old Chicago Tuesdays after afternoon shift for amazing beers (they had hundreds from all over the world!) and pizza and Italian nachos (fried nacho chips, pepperoni, melted cheese and jalepenos – terrible for you but definitely amazing tasting!). I’ll miss being able to drive 30 minutes and be deep in the mountains out of sight of all civilization and have some of the most amazing hiking opportunities at the tips of my fingertips. I’ll miss the fast-paced, intense, target-focused environment of the brewery which pushes you to grow and develop farther and faster than you could ever imagine. I’ll miss the expanse of fields and numerous lakes that simply cover Colorado. I’ll miss the hundreds of miles of biking trails all around Fort Collins. I’ll miss the awesome friends I made at the brewery, who I will definitely go back and visit when I’m back working in Denver. But it’s great being back in corporate headquarters, where all the central corporate strategy is developed! I missed having the high-level strategy talks that just happen continuously between us 14 trainees – always thinking about how to make the company, our image, our products better through new marketing, development and social media initiatives. I missed the top management exposure, the extensive classroom-style learning about the company, sales, new initiatives, you name it! And, most of all, I just missed all the GMTs, with whom I became such good friends throughout the first 5 weeks I spent in St. Louis. Oh, and of course I missed the amazing Chase Park Plaza hotel I stayed in during the first 5 weeks and am staying in again, and the beautiful and classy Central West End, with its high-end bars and sushi and bistros and cupcakery, in which the Chase Park Plaza is located. And although I’m excited about getting back to Colorado to work in Denver at the sales offices there (I’m ready to take advantage of the great snow and mountains there – already bought a 4-pack to Winter Park and plan on definitely visiting Vail as well at least once…oh and hitting up Aspen for the X-games for sure!) it’s nice to be back in St. Louis for two weeks.
And I’m not just back in St. Louis for training; this last Friday, I got to meet the Board of Directors, and, come on, in what other program than the GMT program does an employee of three months, fresh out of college, get to meet the Board of Directors of the company for which they work?! No where. Everyone on the Board, with whom we had breakfast, was super down to earth and friendly and just excited about all the GMT’s as fresh talent and future potential, and were genuinely interested to know what we had seen in our supply rotation, what we thought was good and what needed improvement, what we thought about the company as a whole and why we chose to work for this company and for the GMT program in particular, and what we thought were the biggest gaps in the company as a whole and areas of opportunity to improve engagement, sales and revenues, and profits; how we could increasingly cut costs; and what future investments we saw as wise. They were also full of enthusiasm for the company’s future and the corporate culture and full of ideas about where they wanted the company to go. It was a very inspiring breakfast session, not just because I got to meet billionaires and millionaires, including the individuals who started AmBev before it merged with Interbrew and Anheuser-Busch and became Anheuser-Busch InBev, but because they were so down to earth and interested in what I could bring to the company and how I progress within its structure, because they remembered my name at the end of the breakfast, wished me luck in the future and said they enjoyed talking to me, and because they were so full of passion for the company and its culture, vision and values that it revitalized me after spending two months far away from the passionate and well-aligned corporate workforce among a hardworking but slightly disengaged brewery workforce far away from the centralized vision and strong culture associated with A-BInBev as a company. I learned a lot at the brewery, and there are things I liked: I liked the “realness” of the people, the friendliness, the way everyone waved at you when they passed you in the brewery whether they knew you or not; I liked the lack of politics, and the rationale that if you just worked hard and produced results you would be recognized and promoted; I liked the candor of the people, the straight-forwardness, and everyone’s willingness to help and teach and share information without wanting anything in return. But I’m still glad to be back at corporate, talking marketing and strategy and finance and things I’m familiar with, having daily interaction with the VPs and other senior leaders, being bombarded with classroom training, and being back in the center of all the passion and belief associated with the company (merger and all) and what it stands for and can become. It’s nice to be motivated and enthused again about what the company stands for, as I was beginning to forget a little bit how much I identify with and belief in the values and vision that A-BInBev provides as a company, and I definitely needed to come back and be reminded.
Oh, and in case you were all wondering about how I liked Boston when I went there three weekends ago: I absolutely LOVED it. I have not had the opportunity to spend that much time on the East Coast, having only visited New York and Washington, D.C., each for three days, last spring break, and knew I liked these two cities, but maybe I could survive on the East Coast…I always wondered! But Boston is seriously an incredible city and I highly recommend that everyone make it out there sometime in their life, preferably in their early to mid 20s. It’s such a young and vibrant city, full of history but also hip and young people, lots of college students, interesting pubs and bars, a vast array of different architecture (from traditional brick buildings to sleek and tall skyscrapers), and, honestly, this might show how much of a dork I am, but not a bad science museum. Oh, and AMAZING food! Walked the Freedom Trail and stopped for the best breakfast pastries (Mike’s Pastry), Pizza (Regina’s Pizzeria), and clam chowder (Boston Chowda, strange name, but pretty good chowder!) along the way. Oh, and to honor the history of the East Coast and the start of the our country, bought copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to put on my wall…well, put on my wall once I actually have a permanent apartment and aren’t moving around the country to a different location every month or so! But I definitely had a good time in Boston – and I got to visit my fellow GMTs working at the brewery in Merrimack, NH, which is always a good thing! In fact, now that I’m back in corporate I’ve realized how much I miss all 14 of us GMTs hanging out together all the time. Everyone is super cool and young and fun and we’re all working the same hours, which is different from life at the brewery, where a lot of the workers are older and everyone works shift work, which means that your friends might be on such different shifts from you and you never really get to see them. So definitely glad to be back in St. Louis, and I’ll make sure my next update comes after the next 2 weeks of corporate sales training are done to let you know how it goes! I’m very excited.
Oh – and P.S. Yes, Halloween was awesome! Dressed up as a gypsy, went out to an apartment party being thrown by one of the Sales Management Trainees (SMTs), and then headed out to a block party right next to the hotel at which all us GMTs are staying. The street was blocked up, booths were set up on the sides of the streets selling beer, food and snacks (unfortunately sponsored by MillerCoors…no worries, I drank my Bud Select before attending the street fair and did not purchase any of their products!) and there were so many people you could barely move! Had fun music though and lots of fun people so I definitely had a good time, though!
Well, thanks for reading everyone! The final round of interviews is this Tuesday-Thursday so if you’re there interviewing, good luck and if you get chosen to join the program I really hope you accept! It is a lot of work, but the company is willing to invest in so much training for you; you will learn much more than you ever thought possible in 10 months, and will meet high-up individuals you wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet in any other program for recent college graduates! It is a great opportunity, truly! I will be helping out with interviews, so hopefully I will get to meet some of you as well! Good luck, and look for an update from me after these next two weeks learning corporate sales and marketing! Cheers!
Aaaand now for what I know all you want to see: PICTURES!!! 🙂 P.S. A picture was taken of all the trainees with the Board of Directors…working on getting my hands on that photo and will attach to my next post!
–> My favorite beer ad and one of my favorite beers…up everywhere in Boston’s Prudential Center! Great advertising 🙂
–> A-BI’s presence at Boston’s Oktoberfest in Harvard Square – the largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany! With Stella, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Bass and Beck’s, I am proud to say that there were as many people drinking our beer as Sam Adams – and in Boston, trust me, that’s saying a LOT.
–> One of my favorite things about Boston was definitely all their awesome Irish pubs scattered across the city! Really cool places to chill and have a beer.
–> America’s oldest Tavern!
–> Ooh, just looking at the pictures makes me hungry…love, love, LOVE New England clam chowder! Especially whilst in New England 🙂
–> Beautiful Poudre Canyon, a 20-minute drive from my apartment in Fort Collins! This is why I will miss Colorado. Now we’ll see if I can survive living in snow in the winter…maybe I’ll come back 🙂
–> Halloween fun!
Well, thanks for reading, everybody! Let’s talk again real soon 🙂 Have a great day!