Shareholder Perspectives: Milwaukee Interns Start Professional Careers with Wagner

Encouraging and supporting the future workforce is something Wagner truly believes in. We provide internships in various business units of our company to provide a hands-on work experience that helps individuals grow both professionally and personally and open doors for them to find great job opportunities—even within Wagner.

Here at Wagner, we get excited about offering internships to college students in the greater Milwaukee area. Manufacturers in Wisconsin employ 1 in 6 workers within the state. Opening our doors to students can help to open minds about our industry and provide manufacturing as a viable career path. The president of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Kurt R. Bauer, said “Thirty years ago, the industry was viewed as dumb, dirty and dangerous. Today, it is high-tech, high-skill and high-pay” about the manufacturing industry. It’s our goal to share this shift with the next generation and break down that stigma.

Over the years we’ve had many bright minds come through our doors, and we’re happy to have supported them through their time here at Wagner. We believe internships should be a hands-on learning experience where students can get real-world experience on the work they’d actually be doing in their future careers.

We’re excited to share the stories of a few interns we’ve hired and how Wagner provided opportunities to help them jump-start their careers.

Ashley’s Story

Ashley came to Wagner in the summer of 2021 as a Strategic Marketing Intern. She was going into her Junior year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was eager to have her first college internship. She hit the ground running working alongside Wagner’s Marketing Department.

A woman in a gray blazer standing in a manufacturing warehouse

“Wagner made me feel valued, important, and a necessary part of the Marketing Team. Through my summer at Wagner, I grew both personally and professionally.

I became more mature, grew my time management skills, improved upon my written and verbal communication, as well as my public speaking through presenting my projects to Wagner’s Executive Team.”

-Ashley, Marketing Intern

Ashley had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects that allowed her to apply what she was learning in her Marketing and Management studies at UW-Madison, while honing in on new skillsets with the help of our Marketing Team.

“I quickly began to dive into a variety of projects within multiple areas of the department and was given the perfect balance of structure and creativity with the assignments I was given. The coolest part is when I look back, I get to say, ‘I did that.’”

While at Wagner, Ashley tackled some big projects and created systems and reported out on data we still use today. Her two biggest projects were:

  • Trustpilot Customer Satisfaction Project
  • Comprehensive Competitive Analysis Project

Ashley dug deep and analyzed quantitative and qualitative data to create reports and had the opportunity to share her findings with not only the Marketing Team, but also the Executive Team at Wagner. We believe that the hard work of our employees, including our interns, should be celebrated and recognized to encourage individuals that their hard work does not go unnoticed.

Along with her projects, Ashley also managed various third-party affiliate portals and Wagner’s Google My Business profile to assist with search engine optimization (SEO). With her daily duties, she also researched new pricing tools and received various Google Skillshop certifications for Google My Business and Google Analytics.

Wagner still encourages Ashley as she returns to school, working towards her Marketing and Management degree, and her Human Resources degree. Ashley aspires to apply to law school for Fall of 2023. We’re so excited to see her continue her journey as she explores her career opportunities and interests.

Grady’s Story

Grady started his career at Wagner as a New Product Development Intern and came to Wagner between his senior year of college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Grady was excited about this opportunity to work in the world of architectural railing systems as his family was no stranger to the industry.

“Growing up in the house of an interior designer and an architect, I was always enamored by anything architecture related. So, getting the chance to work with architectural products was an exciting opportunity for me.”

In new product development, he worked within the Engineering Department to help verify and test out new products that were being added to our product offerings to ensure they worked properly and efficiently. Along the way, he became more involved with the architectural railing systems side of the business where the focus was geared more towards modeling and detailing our handrailing systems for customers.

Once Grady completed his degree at UW-Madison, he came back to Wagner as a full-time Modeling Engineer. His internship experience at Wagner gave him the confidence to return for a full-time position knowing that the work he was doing was important from day one.

A man wearing round tortoiseshell glasses and a light blue button up shirt

“I really enjoyed the people I worked with during my internship. Even as an intern, the company and the Engineering Team made me feel like I was an important member of the team, and it was a team that worked well together to get the work done. “

-Grady, Modeling Engineer for Architectural Railing Systems

As a Modeling Engineer, Grady works to merge a customer’s design desires with what the site conditions allow for, creating a custom railing solution for our partners.

In his role, Grady models the railing system within the job site by first reading the architectural prints supplied by our customers, creating 3D models that then get configured into detailed 2D drawings that are sent back to the customer for revisions. Drawings include the overall railing and stair dimensions to ensure the customer receives their ideal railing solution. Another 2D drawing is sent to production with details of the exact products that go into the customer’s railing system to begin the manufacturing process.

A lot goes into modeling and configuring a high-quality, code-compliant railing solution for our partners. Grady’s favorite part is the initial modeling of the railing solution. He enjoys flexing his creative muscles to make a one-of-a-kind solution that satisfies the wants and the requirements of the project.

“Something I appreciate about manufacturing is that the finished results are tangible. It’s always cool to be able to see the product that you’ve dedicated your time to and see it come to life.”

A big change Grady has seen in the manufacturing industry is the use of 3D scanning. The 3D scanning technology is used at complicated jobsites to help ensure we get the most accurate measurements that allow for precise modeling to minimize revisions between Wagner and our customers for shorter lead times and satisfied customers.

Grady is grateful for how his internship allowed him the experience and hands-on training to jump-start his engineering career.

Wagner has been in the manufacturing industry for over 65 years, and we’re excited to share our knowledge and expertise with those going into the workforce and helping them prepare and get excited about their careers. Whether interning for a summer or making a career at Wagner, we’re excited to be a part of their experiences.

Interested in a position at Wagner? Browse our Careers page to begin your journey today.

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