Emilie Loras at her internship standing in front of A.Y. McDonald sign

Dubuque Institutions Unite Through Internships

While Loras students have been working as interns at A.Y. McDonald Mfg. Co. for many years, the arrival of Emilie Loras has brought the two companies’ histories together in a new way. Loras, a descent of the College’s founder, served as an intern while attending the institution that bears her family name.

“I’ve always wanted to be here,” she said. “I have met so many people who just come up and say ‘hi’ because of my name. The funniest part is the sports game because there are athletes running everywhere with your name on it and you are there to cheer them on.”

For Emilie, the experience gained through the internship has been significant as she prepares for a career in logistics and manufacturing. A student of KEDGE Business School in Bordeaux, France, she has taken on a major initiative at AY McDonald that introduces reusable containers for part of the supply chain.

“This program is all logistics – it can reduce waste, expense and improve safety of all parties involved,” Ben Winders, A.Y. McDonald purchasing manager and Emilie’s supervisor, explained. “She is right in the middle of it, making it happen. It is a big deal.”

Her impact has been such that Winders, who has not had an intern before, is excited to welcome more students into the fold moving forward.

“Emilie is handling detailed work that we don’t have the time to focus on but it is extremely important. She has not been afraid to reach out with both our team and suppliers with questions. Her presence here has been incredibly valuable and I am going to be looking for more interns in the future,” he said.

Emilie is the latest in a series of students from the College to work as an intern at A.Y. McDonald. The hands-on learning is significant for the students, but, as Brad Johnson, A.Y. McDonald human resources manager, explains, it is a mutually beneficial arrangement.

“A big part of what we look for in general is good people who want to be part of the A.Y. family,” he said. “Interns who come in are looked at as part of the team and give them an experience that truly showcases what the jobs and responsibilities are and have them fully share in that process. Anything less than is a disservice to them.”

For Emilie’s part, the combined experience at both Loras and A.Y. has been positive.

“The best part at A.Y. has been working as a team that was very welcoming. I am learning so much about a subject that I like. At Loras, I have met so many great people and made new friends. Everyone has been so nice to me. People come up to me to talk to me just because they know my name. I am having a great time,” she said.

According to Johnson, the relationship between A.Y. McDonald and Loras continues to be strong, but their latest intern may have made this more difficult for future students.

“You can see the value that Emilie brings, which is two-fold: they bring great value in their work to us and we, in turn, can provide experience to them. It is a great benefit to everyone involved. Emilie has set a very high bar for anyone following in her footsteps,” he said.

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