I never really got to know Marc that well. He spent a semester with us, and went back to his world, and we are grateful for both his time on project, and for this:
In this blog entry, which is likely my first and last, I share my feelings about the “Piedmont experience”.
It should be stated that I have not read other Interns blog entries submitted to the Piedmont site.
I entered the scene with an engineering background trained with an industrial approach to problem solving. Visiting the site prior to accepting a position was crucial. Had I followed suit with more than half the accepted interns by not visiting, I very well may have left in my first week also.
Piedmont is a company made up by its character not its infrastructure. If you stop in expecting aesthetics don’t expect much. If you stop in looking for devotion expect to be painting by the end of the day.
Meeting with Dave Thornton and Matt Rudolf for an interview presented me with the state of mind in which a person of the Piedmont bubble operates. I feel that the Piedmont bubble is made up of experienced individuals, all of whom are good at what they do.
I can relate to their personal quests through life, but not to the ways in which they go about accomplishing their tasks. Where we all differ is in our skill sets, goal setting, consideration for other people, and consideration for personal items loaned to the project in order for it to function. When one arrives at Piedmont there is a new state of mind to which one must adapt. It can be a struggle at first, but once you become accustomed you can see some of the light at the end of the tunnel–envisioned by others on project.
However everyone envisions something different and therefore that is why you will only see bits and pieces. 3 months at Piedmont required humbleness and patience, while building more of it. The awesome personalities of Piedmont employees compares to the protein necessary to rebuild muscles after a workout in project management. Reaching a state of exhaustion is not hard to accomplish.
To prevent exhaustion one must become their own manager and decide what their priorities are. If not, the project becomes the manager. This happens when other employees simply ask favors that will help complete a priority on their list, but in fact draws you from your own priorities. A fellow intern passed on a bit of advice about going slow at the beginning so that you can go fast in the end.
It turns out that Joanna was right. If a person plans to work at Piedmont they are in for an experience. We learned the ins and outs of biodiesel production, the operations of local currency, different ways of cooking and living, the importance of teamwork necessary to accomplish big tasks, the importance of local farming, and finally the behind the scenes economics of the biodiesel industry.
The Piedmont “point of view” is that everyone needs to be on the same page and have shared skills. I would suggest a biodiesel boot camp for interns in order to cover the essentials. Unfortunately, when an organization grows every person must specialize. Piedmont is at that turning point and is experiencing growing pains. If you are a person interested in biodiesel, entrepreneurship, farming, or community living the Piedmont internship is a great opportunity to learn about all of them.
My cooperative education program required a summer of hands on learning. Not only did I get hands on, I got covered in it. Marc