Background

Pepro, LLC is a veteran-owned, small business located in Oil City, Pennsylvania with 22 employees. The company has been providing state-of-the-art deployable radio sites without loss or failure since 1992. The company uses a patented Faraday Cage system to ensure that communications are not interrupted by Radio Frequency Interference (RFI), Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), and Passive Inter-Modulation (PIM), lightning strikes and transient voltage. PEPRO manufactures shielded enclosures and towers that protect critical communications equipment from electromagnetic interference and harsh weather conditions for telecommunications, including cell phone towers, utilities, transportation, military and other government industries. Their products are used by the US Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Homeland Security, states, local governments, Motorola, and others requiring a secure enclosure for sensitive electronic, computer, and radio equipment.

Business Issue

PEPRO was in need a student intern highly proficient in mechanical engineering principles with the ability to work 40 hours a week over the summer. The intern’s work would support their engineering team to perform calculations for proper antenna placement, ballast, and footing requirements for standard PEPRO mobile & fixed sites to meet requirements and assist in the design of customer specific products. 

Solution

NWIRC’s Stem Internship Program

The NWIRC team facilitated a project kick-off discussion to fully understand and capture information about PEPRO’s situation, needs, criteria for a successful intern candidate, and desired outcomes. Soon after, NWIRC created a job description and promoted the opportunity at numerous trade schools, colleges/universities across the region, including job board postings, consultation with faculty, and at regional college career fairs. From resumes collected, phone screenings were conducted to evaluate interested candidates for close fit to the desired criteria. PEPRO did final interviews among the top recommended candidates. 

Success

PEPRO hired an intern who started his position on the first day by flying with a team to a PEPRO customer across the country. Examples of work completed include preparing site specific prints for customers using Solidworks & AutoCAD, preparing production prints for assembly & fabrication using Solidworks, assisting PEPRO’s sales team with new product costing and feasibility, and designing new mobile & permanent communication sites.

“The NWIRC STEM internship program proved invaluable to our small company. With everyone juggling multiple responsibilities, finding time for a job search can be challenging,” said Kelly Lander, PEPRO President. “Thankfully, NWIRC streamlined the process for us, by taking care of the legwork. They provided a curated list of qualified candidates and even scheduled the interviews. I wholeheartedly recommend this program to any businesses seeking interns.” Lander cites an estimated $50,000 in retained sales from completing this project, in addition to creation of 1 new job.