Posted On: April 29, 2021
The Dream Big Career Exploration Series 2020 ended April 7 with a panel discussion facilitated by employees of Fabick Cat, the local service provider for Caterpillar engines and generator sets.
Panelists included Talent Sourcing Specialist Tanner Fry, Director of IT Support and Operations Jeff Simington, and Rental Branch Operations Manager Matt Kloster. After kicking things off with an icebreaker activity, panelists took turns describing their job responsibilities at Fabick.
Although the name Caterpillar is synonymous with heavy machinery, Tanner emphasized to students that people from all types of professional backgrounds work at Fabick.
“People look at the product and think that they’ll have to work directly with that product. But I’ve worked at Fabick for two-and-a-half years and I can honestly say I’ve never operated heavy equipment before,” Tanner explains. “I work with a computer, which is something most people can do. You might need an accommodation, but anyone can learn it. Every student who participated in the event was on a computer, so any one of them could do the job, whether it’s in HR, marketing, accounting, IT, or any of the departments that support our product.”
After panelists fielded a number of questions from the audience, Tanner led students through a round of ‘Name That Machine.’ Students were able to identify a bulldozer, skid steer loader, excavator and dump truck.
Fabick employees always relish the opportunity to give back to their community, especially when there’s a chance to make a difference in the lives of young people. Tanner hopes Dream Big participants came away from the event with a new sense of optimism for their career possibilities.
“Find something you’re passionate about. Find what matters to you and then go knock on every door. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a perfect match for the job description or if you think you might be a little underqualified. Knock on the door anyway,” Tanner urges. “Don’t ever hesitate to take a shot. If you don’t get the job, then hey, you’re still in the exact same seat. Don’t leave any stone unturned because you never know what might get you noticed.”
The Fabick Cat presentation came on the heels of March’s career exploration event featuring the St. Louis Zoo. The discussion panel, led by Katie Emerick, Director of Volunteer Services, included representatives from the zoo’s animal division, catering operations, education and facilities management departments.
According to Katie, Dream Big participants seemed eager to learn of the zoo’s inner workings.
“Students were very engaged. They had many questions for our panelists, particularly about animal care,” Katie recalls. “They enthusiastically participated in our animal observation activity, where we studied king penguins’ behaviors over a Zoo webcam.”
Katie and her St. Louis Zoo colleagues are incredibly passionate about what they do, and they never miss an opportunity to share that passion with young people.
“These events are a great way to introduce students to new careers, including careers they may have had no previous exposure to,” Katie concludes. “We also shared ways students can support the Zoo’s mission at home or at school through a variety of community science projects. We look forward to participating in future events!”
Dream Big will continue the Career Exploration Series in the 2021-2022 academic school year. Join us this summer at Dream Big Career Camp for 3 one-week long explorations at St. Louis’ top disability-welcoming companies. Learn more and apply now at starkloff.org/dreambig.