Team WTI First Jobs | Bailing Hay, Pretzel Making & More

By: TeamWTI | Date: September 28, 2020

Categories: Uncategorized, WTI,

Tags: Team WTI,

A first job is a rite of passage for many teenagers. Today, nearly 35% of American teens age 16-19 have a summer or after-school job, and that number was higher in prior decades. The Team WTI staff recently took a moment to reflect on their very own first jobs.

Kim Gehling Team WTIKim Gehling

Kim Gehling, President of Team WTI, said her very first job was as a dishwasher. She was responsible for cleaning plates and ensuring they were rinsed, sanitized, and put away.

“I learned the longer dishes soak, the easier they are to clean,” said Gehling.

Michele Nelson Team WTIMichele Nelson

Director of Operations Michele Nelson said one of her very first jobs was working at The Milkey Way ice cream and restaurant in her hometown. 

“My responsibilities were everything from taking orders, serving, cooking, sweeping and mopping floors, cleaning grills and deep fryers to setting up and cleaning the ice cream machines, inventory and balancing the cash drawer. We were taught every aspect of the business and it was expected we would know how to do it all,” said Nelson.

Working at The Milkey Way taught Nelson “good customer service skills.” She also learned “soft serve is better for you than ice cream.”

Part of the secret to the fluffy texture is soft serve’s lower fat content. And the higher the quality of the ice cream mix determines the smoothness and flavor of soft-serve ice cream,” she explained.

Cindy Whiteman Team WTICindy Whiteman

Cindy Whiteman, Team WTI’s Digital Marketing Division Director, had her first job as a carhop at an A&W Root Beer Stand. 

“It was a fascinating first job and never boring,” remembers Whiteman. “I definitely learned how to juggle a lot of things at once. I also learned that I like green olives on a hamburger. They had a special burger that was on a hidden menu that was caught called the Royale Burger and it had green olives on it. Who would’ve thought that would be good?”

Randy VanMeenen Team WTIRandy VanMeenen

Randy VanMeenen, Account Strategist at Team WTI, said baling hay served as his first job. Working in a barn in 90+ degree heat, VanMeenen would stack the bales of hay. 

“I learned to work hard,” he said.

Lisa Depies Team WTILisa Depies

Lisa Depies, the Digital Marketing Team Lead, worked as a library page at the Geneseo Public Library for her first job. 

“I was responsible for shelving books and assisting library patrons. The job taught me how to alphabetize things very quickly, and I can still tell you all about the Dewey Decimal System,” she said.

Linda Morrison Team WTILinda Morrison

Linda Morrison, a Financial Assistant at Team WTI and retired elementary school teacher, said her first job was at a photo processing plant cutting and pricing photos. “I learned I didn’t want to work in a factory without windows doing piece work,” she said.

“Next I was flipping burgers, cooking fries and making chili 3-ways at Steak & Shake  I found I was NOT a cook!” Morrison noted. 

“Then I moved to working with kids in the great outdoors as a camp counselor. That’s where discovered my love of working with children and teaching them about the world around them. Lastly, it was on to my life’s work of teaching (more than 30 years). First as a physical educator and finally in the 2nd grade. I learned life is all about change and learning evolve with it and to ‘Bloom Where You Are Planted,’” she explained. “Eventually in my retirement, I evolved to another love, computers!  Working at WTI continues to feed my need to learn new tricks.”

Julie Loitz Team WTIJulie Loitz

Team WTI Financial Assistant Julie Loitz said her first job was detasseling corn. 

“I thought I would do it because my older brothers did it. Well, I detasseled for one day. It was probably 150 degrees with 200% humidity. What I learned is DO NOT GET A JOB DETASSLING CORN,” she said.

Instead, Loitz found more success with her next job working at the public pool. “I started by checking out baskets and cleaning toilets. I left many years later as assistant manager having done every job in between,” Loitz said.

Kate Whiteman Team WTIKate Whiteman

Kate Whiteman, a Digital Marketing Specialist at Team WTI, is quite familiar with her very first job … it involved working at Team WTI. 

“I’m not sure if I had an official title then, but I wrote blogs and manually put together monthly reports to be sent to clients. I learned a lot about SEO, which I still use today,” she said.

Makenna Ewan Team WTIMakenna Ewan

Fellow Digital Marketing Specialist Makenna Ewan had her first job as a pretzel maker at a Pretzelmaker franchise. 

“I still whip up a batch of pretzels every now and then, but nothing can compare to those little conveyer-belt ovens. I think that’s the secret to the perfect pretzel. Well, that and the butter we used!” she said.


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