Southwest students shine at Siemens

by Robert Jackson, Creative Services Coordinator

In a small non-descript office park located in Bartlett lies the Memphis branch of a world-wide leader in integrated technology where three talented Southwest students were afforded the opportunity to intern.

(L-R) Brenda Williams, Southwest Director of Career Services; David Bohannon, Siemens; Courtney Ward, Southwest; Jacqueline Faulkner, Southwest VP of Student Affairs; Asia Watkins, Intern; Rashad Williams, Intern; Javon Byers, Intern; and Dr. Robin Cole, Southwest Dean of Business and Career Services.

(L-R) Brenda Williams, Southwest Director of Career Services; David Bohannon, Siemens; Courtney Ward, Southwest; Jacqueline Faulkner, Southwest VP of Student Affairs; Asia Watkins, Intern; Rashad Williams, Intern; Javon Byers, Intern; and Dr. Robin Cole, Southwest Dean of Business and Career Services.

Students Javon Byers, Rashad Williams and Asia Watkins completed a five-week paid internship at Siemens Memphis through a partnership with Southwest.

Siemens, with 377,000 employees in 200 countries, is a global powerhouse in electrification, automation and digitalization.

Byers is a current student in the Electrical Engineering program, Williams graduated in May 2018 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology and Watkins completed her Engineering Technology degree in 2016. The students received training in all aspects of building automation, including fire life safety and security.  The experience allowed them not only to troubleshoot from a desktop connection, but also to work in the field at International Paper, Tennessee National Guard Station, Shelby County Schools, libraries and even Southwest’s Allied Health building.  They assisted with security networks upgrades, panel repairs and various camera installations, about 30 projects in all.

The students worked hard, but enjoyed the family-friendly work environment that exposed them to the inner workings of buildings and how they are interconnected.  “I did not think I would be on a roof working on an HVAC system or even knew that the system can be on a roof,” Rashad Williams said.  “I thought they were all inside or at least similar to the ones you see connected to a house. Now when I enter a building, I look at it in a different way.”

Asia Watkins, Javon Byers and Rashad Williams received intern certificates from Siemens.

Asia Watkins, Javon Byers and Rashad Williams received intern certificates from Siemens.

David Bohannon, Siemens Service Operations Supervisor of Automation supervised the interns.  “This was a great experience not only for the students, but also the crew members they worked beside,” He said. “We got a great group of students from Southwest.  They were knowledgeable, great in the field, and provided superior customer service to our clients.”

Bohannon admitted that he was a little skeptical on how the students would perform.  “It can be difficult to find one great person, but for us to get three qualified and successful students is amazing and a testament to the quality of education they are receiving at Southwest.”

The compliments were also echoed by Siemens Office Manager Barbara Conway who is affectionately regarded as the “true boss”.  She had high expectations for the interns and held them accountable for their actions.  “These three individuals made me proud,” Conway said.  “They were a great fit, strived for excellence and their attitudes and personalities were professional,” she added. “They set the bar high and are an example that Southwest is producing great students.”

Although the internship is over, the students will remain in the Siemens human resources system and will be eligible for employment with the company.