For the third consecutive summer, Mitch Wilkinson is working as an intern at ACES while he finishes his degree in selling and sales management at Purdue University. As the first intern at ACES, he is paving the way for others to follow.
Mitch was hired for the internship after meeting Mike Steffes, ACES CEO, while working out at LA Fitness. “I had no idea what ACES did, so I checked out the company and called for an interview,” Mitch says, “I think my biggest learning experience through this opportunity has been realizing the importance of networking.”
Mitch loves the informal, people-focused atmosphere at ACES. He loves going to work every day in the open office environment. “We have pods, not cubicles, and there is never a dull moment. He describes the Natural Gas team at ACES as a fun, social group and looks forward to lunch at El Rodeo, a local Mexican food restaurant, with them every Friday.
In the future, Mitch looks forward to mastering his skills in his permanent position, wants to travel more, and live on his own. “I desperately want to go out West to fly fish in Montana, Idaho, and Colorado, and go to Alaska to hunt. As a lover of American history, I want to visit Boston to experience the early history of our country. I have dreams to travel abroad to many places in Europe. But nothing is quite as peaceful to me as a beach in the Caribbean,” says Mitch. He hopes to one day get married and raise a family in central Indiana. Mitch grew up in Zionsville, a northwest suburb of Indianapolis, and he and his friends think it’s a great place to live. And since Mitch sees or talks to his friends every day, it’s important for him to stay close and continue those friendships. “I wouldn’t mind relocating for a short stint, but I ultimately want to come back to live in central Indiana,” says Mitch.
Mitch believes it’s important to give back and volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club a couple hours a week. He can be found tutoring students in math, setting up the gym for sports, and playing dolls. “On one particular day, I was helping a young girl struggling with math homework. Right after I laid out 15-20 random items around the room to portray simple addition and subtraction, she innocently asks, ‘Mr. Mitch, please tell me I won’t need to go on scavenger hunts to solve math problems for the rest of my life,’” says Mitch.
In his free time, Mitch likes to play golf. His father, a golf professional, encouraged Mitch to play as a challenge and a way to network. Mitch explains, “My grandfather taught me how to play golf like a gentleman. He was always my hero. We lived by the motto that we were so close because we had a common enemy: my dad! My grandfather was a hardened Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam and then went on to become a drill sergeant in San Diego. He was covered in small scars and was a very rigid, gritty individual, but not with me. Golf was his favorite activity, and we were best friends. We played golf as much as possible at the course where he worked part-time. He was well-built and could hit a golf ball a mile. I really felt like royalty riding around the course with him because of the respect he commanded. About five years ago, he was diagnosed with early onset dementia and Parkinson’s disease. After about a year, he didn’t remember anyone except my grandmother and me. Ever since he passed away last December, I wear his Marine dog tag every single day. Golf is my way of still connecting with him even though he is not here.”