Spiro Institute interns bring fresh ideas to young companies
Clemson undergraduates Michelle Wiltse and Bailey Hack bring a valuable perspective to their internships that two companies are eager to tap.
Both entrepreneurial-focused students are recipients of internships through the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. But unlike some of Spiro Institute’s other University Professional Internship Co-op (UPIC) students who are paid to work on their own start-up companies, Michelle and Bailey’s internships pair them with the founders of high-growth, early-stage companies as analysts.
“These students are working in research roles with companies that do business with Clemson’s Athletic Department,” said John Hannon, Spiro Institute assistant director. “As next-generation thinkers, Michelle and Bailey bring a mindset that these companies are eager to tap as they expand into new markets.”
Michelle, a junior majoring in international trade, and minoring in economics, is interning with Teamworks, founded in Durham, N.C., in 2004, by Zach Maurides. It provides communications solutions to athletic teams and organizations in a secured, closed loop. For instance, Teamworks provides a platform for athletic teams, like Clemson’s, to communicate activities such as meals, practices and travel itineraries through emails, texts and voice messaging.
“I’m getting hands-on experience in a research role that is important to Teamworks’ expansion into future markets,” said Michelle of Daniel Island. “It’s hands-on experience in taking research, analyzing it and putting it into a strategic plan for Teamworks.”
Michelle’s charge is to research European professional soccer teams’ appetite for a communications platform similar to what Teamworks provides professional and collegiate sports teams in the U.S.
“Bringing in entrepreneurial talent like Michelle is a big part of how Teamworks maintains its industry-leading technology,” said Mitch Heath, director of operations. “We are thrilled to have one of Clemson’s best on board and we’re benefiting from her fresh ideas and outstanding work ethic.
“Michelle has been placed with a member of our leadership team, who is providing her with mentorship as she continues to grow. Already, Michelle has made real and significant contributions to a high-growth company. And, she has put herself in a position to succeed as a leader, entrepreneur, or in any setting she chooses,” Heath added.
Graham Neff, Clemson’s deputy director of athletics, said the intern partnership with the Spiro Institute is a natural fit that provides students a learning experience, while benefiting one of their vendors.
“The business-end of the athletic department has connections with many vendors that help us in our day-to-day operations. The internships with these vendors are providing the students real-world experience, but also benefit Teamworks and Stark RFID with valuable insights from a demographic that’s important to them.”
Stark RFID is host to sophomore Bailey Hack’s internship. The Greenville-based company, founded in 2004 by Lance Burnett, provides real-time location systems to track people and assets at events, by implanting technology in wrist bands or lanyard badges. Stark RFID currently does business with universities, professional sports teams, the PGA Tour, and with Clemson on IPTAY ticketing.
The company is looking to enter smaller-venue markets and has assigned Bailey to conduct market research at Clemson to determine what organizations might find Stark RFID’s technology beneficial at their events.
“The internship has given me the most real-world experience I’ve had to this point. For someone whose interests are marketing and events, it’s giving me great insights into research and potential career paths that I might go down.”
Shelby Risher, Stark RFID director of development, said innovation is best driven by assembling teams with diverse experiences.
“We consider Bailey to be post-millennial, and when you add that her perspective comes from a less invested point of view, she is in a great position to contribute in a way that will empathize with our customers and help us get to the best solution for them.
“Bailey already has a great understanding of the working world. Stark RFID is simply providing the opportunity to put her entrepreneurial instincts to work, and in the process bring our solutions to market.”
Hannon said this new style of UPIC internship is another example of the Spiro Institute creating growth opportunities for some of Clemson’s most innovative minds.
“Students like Michelle and Bailey bring a fresh, inquisitive perspective to these businesses. These internships are great opportunities for young entrepreneurs to exercise their minds in an industry sector they may someday want to be part of.”
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