S3 AeroDefense Internship Program: A Success Story

With their first official session of the S3 AeroDefense Internship Program underway, we wanted to take the opportunity to sit down with one of S3’s previous interns, who now has been a full-time employee with the company for the past year.  Andrew Smith, Supply Chain Specialist, started at S3 in May of 2019 and has been marked as a rising star within the organization.

S3: Andrew, thank you for sitting down with us today.  Tell us a little bit about your background and your time at S3.

SMITH: The internship game is competitive, and I am very driven.  When I applied to intern at S3 it was an incredibly competitive market for internships out there, so I think I applied for 30 of them total.  I was fortunate to get the opportunity to be a part of the S3 team, and since supply chain was my main area of interest, it doesn’t get much more interesting than working for a company that is in the International Aviation and Aerospace industry.  I am a double major, both in Operations & Supply Chain and International Business, during my internship, I really get to lean into both of those areas and communicate with people across the world.

S3: Why Supply Chain? What brought you into that field?

SMITH: It’s funny because I declared my major almost instantly, and I remember my advisor telling me ‘Most students change their major a few times before graduation but for me, it always was and continues to be Supply Chain.  When you work in supply chain, it changes every day, each day is a new challenge, it keeps it exciting.  With the continued globalization of markets, supply chain also happens to be one of the fastest-growing industries out there, so I knew there was opportunity.

S3: Tell me about your time as an intern at S3, what was your day-to-day like?

SMITH: I loved it, it was such a great experience.  I sat right in the middle of everything and also had direct exposure to the leadership team.  They included me in their daily standup meetings and I would take a crazy amount of notes.  Then I would go back to my manager at the time and ask a million questions about what everything meant and how the processes worked.  My leader, Andrea, was the best, always willing to explain things and talk through my ideas or thoughts on things.  I can’t imagine an internship experience that would have given me as much exposure and invested in me as much as S3 did.  

S3: Sounds like you were really empowered to be innovative and be a part of making solutions happen on the front line.

SMITH: Totally, I remember one time, in particular, there was this sales order that needed to be audited and the owners asked me to help.  It was such a neat experience to work directly with one of the owners on such a big project.  Knowing that it had a huge impact on the company and they trusted me to help own the process and were willing to hear what I had to say, there aren’t a lot of companies out there that truly want to hear ideas and try new things, so I knew I was lucky to be at S3.

S3: But now you are no longer an intern, tell us a little bit about how you became a full-time employee.

SMITH: Well, it was crazy, I am a planner and I am always thinking eight steps ahead. So, before I even got close to the end of my internship, I was applying for jobs all over.  I remembered how competitive the market was out there when I was looking for internships, so I wanted to be prepared.  Because I am a little ambitious, the type of positions I was applying for put me up against really seasoned supply chain people, and because of my time and experience at S3, people were incredibly interested and impressed with what I had to bring to the table.  I was beating out people with decades of experience in interviews, all thanks to my time as an intern at S3.  But of course, I knew I wanted to be a part of S3, so when we did start talking about my future with the company, it was an easy decision to take the opportunity to be a part of such a great company.  

S3:  This is such a great story, do you get to work closely with the new generation of interns at S3 to help them seize the opportunity as you did?

SMITH:  All the time, S3 really has that culture of teamwork and collaboration.  We are all a little like family here, so from helping them navigate the day-to-day intricacies, to understanding the organizational goals, and most importantly how to use our cappuccino maker. I love getting to work with the members of our internship program.  Everyone in the program is so incredibly driven and motivated, just like I was when I was in their shoes.  It makes it easy to help them be successful.  It’s great to see them take the initiative.

S3: Thanks for all the information Andrew.  Since you have been so successful in not only getting the most out of your internship but also translating that to a full-time role, do you have any parting words of wisdom for interns out there? 

SMITH: Always try, experiences and projects are always what you choose to make them.  Don’t not being afraid to put yourself out there and ask questions, it really sets you ahead of the game and helps you grow as an individual.  Sometimes people think internship roles are all about staying quiet and getting people coffee, but in reality, you can make it so much more.  Get involved and get invested in the company and your own growth, you will be surprised by the difference it can make in the whole experience.

Part of our spirit at S3 AeroDefense is our passion.  Its respectful, humble, honest, and transparent. Yet it’s an aggressive and empowering spirit that is entrepreneurial and unafraid. Our culture here is to overcome barriers, take risks, and believe that everything is doable. We look for and recognize that in our employees and especially our interns.

To learn more about our internship opportunities or other careers, click here.