Alumnus Spotlight: Nick Gorell

Nick Gorell
Nick Gorell

2015 Contemporary Business grad works for Metro Transit

Nick Gorell, 30, a 2015 graduate of the Contemporary Business program at Inver Hills Community College, returned to campus Monday, December 3, 2018, to speak to students in a Small Group Communication class taught by Brad Manley, communication faculty at the college.
The purpose of Nick’s visit was to promote internship opportunities at the Metropolitan Council, the regional policy-making body, planning agency and provider of essential services for the Twin Cities metropolitan region.
Nick can credit his own job as a sales operation specialist with Metro Transit, a division of the Met Council, to an internship he completed while earning his Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree at Inver Hills.
“I accidentally stumbled upon a career at Met Transit,” Nick said. “I was in a human resources class taught by Hamid Kazeroony, a business instructor at Inver, and he showed us all the internship opportunities with the Metropolitan Council. I went home and did research on the different positions available and ended up applying for the sales operations intern spot.”

Met Council Internships

The Metropolitan Council’s Internship Program offers a wide variety of opportunities to qualifying interns. Our program is designed to educate and mentor interns by providing professional on-the-job training and development. Our interns receive an hourly salary; most interns work full-time during the summer, with some opportunities continuing part-time through the school year. Read more…

View internship openings & APPLY NOW

Nick reported that once he started as an intern, he got to know the work community and recognized how his internship could lead to a great job with a promising future. “So many people I work with have decades of service,” he said. “Not many people leave because Met Transit is a wonderful place to work.”
Nick’s chief duty as a sales operation specialist is planning and executing transportation for major events that take place on the Metro Transit system. His number one priority is safety for the system’s passengers.
“I am responsible for getting people where they need to be without incident at events held at TCF Bank Stadium,” Nick said. “I assisted with the planning and execution of Super Bowl LII in February 2018. That event was huge. We are also planning for Allianz Field when the soccer stadium opens next season for Minnesota United FC games. I go on site for events to supervise our interns and ambassadors. I have credentials for every stadium in the Met Transit area.”
Nick reported that he schedules staffing and serves as a liaison between Met Transit staff, operations personnel, police officers and outside agencies when planning and working events. “In 2018, we will cover one hundred and fifty events that constitute a ‘major event,'” he said, adding that Met Transit can move 12,000 people in under an hour—15,000 was a record set at a Minnesota Vikings game. “In 2019, we expect the same amount, if not more.”
When he’s not working or planning events, Nick has an office role within the Met Transit Finance department. He is also a program manager for the Met Transit Access Pass Program that supports riders on Medicaid.
“Every day of the week can be different for me,” he said.

Nick Gorell and Brad Manley
Nick Gorell and Brad Manley

Center for Career Development and Community-Based Learning (CCD+CBL)

Emily Johnson is the director of career development at Inver Hills Community College. Emily regards internships as an essential experience for students seeking career success.
“The employers we work with at Inver consistently report that they desire a candidate that has some sort of work experience prior to graduation,” she said. “An internship can be a way for our students to explore the industry while gaining some professional experience to make them more competitive in today’s job market. The Center for Career Development and Community-Based Learning has many opportunities for students to get connected to internships and start preparing for the application process.”
Emily added that Met Council internships have been exceptionally beneficial for Inver students. She related that CCD+CBL builds careers and strengthens communities by engaging students in the lifelong process of career development and active citizenship. CCD+CBL accomplishes this mission in the following ways:

  • Providing students and alumni with the skills and experiences needed to make an impact in today’s competitive labor market
    • Resume review
    • Job interview prep
    • Internship applications
  • Working in partnership with faculty for learning experiences in and out of the classroom
  • Cultivating community partner relationships for:
    • Volunteer opportunities
    • Service-learning
    • Academic internships
    • Off-campus employment

“CCD+CBL staff would like to thank our many community and employer partners who make it possible to support our students in their academic and career journeys,” Emily said.

More about Nick…

Originally from Eagan, Minnesota, Nick is a graduate of the School of Environmental Studies, Class of 2006. He has a girlfriend, Becky, 29, and a 6-year-old male black lab named Chaunce. His sister, Casandra, 32, works as a nuclear medical technician and lives with her husband, Paul, and son, Nicolai, 2, in Washington State.
Nick enjoys playing golf and Frisbee golf during the summer. He competes in bowling and dart leagues during the winter. He loves to travel and this coming January he and Becky are going to spend eight days in Costa Rica. In February 2019, they’re heading for the Caribbean to spend 10 days on Aruba. Other places Nick has gone include Guatemala, Canada, Mexico and the island of Kauai in Hawaii. He resides in Eagan.

Brad Manley | Q & A

Brad Manley is faculty in the Communication department at Inver Hills. Brad considers Nick an ideal example of a student who makes the most an internship opportunity.

What type of outside-the-classroom experiences do you recommend for Inver students?
I believe in the learning that happens inside of the classroom, but many times that learning really connects with the student through outside experience. Internships, community-based learning and job shadowing can all be something that helps reinforcing what is happening in the classroom.
Some of these I have and do utilize as part of the course itself and some I promote in addition to the course. The best thing a student can do is connect with Emily Johnson, director of career development, to find something that is a match for their career path.
Why should students take advantage of internship opportunities?
Internships are a great way to put into practice the skills and information they have been learning in the classroom. It is also important because internships can help students start or continue to build a network in the area they plan to pursue. These connections can provide resume details and potential references for future college/job applications.
Most importantly, internships help the student confirm what major they are pursuing and potentially get their foot in the door at a company. I had a friend in college who completed her degree in elementary education only to find out during student teaching that she hated kids. On the other hand, I have Nick Gorell getting an internship (that I had nothing to do with) that would eventually set his career path to date.
What communication skills do students gain from participating in an internship?
As a communication instructor, I really try to focus on skill development that will benefit students in their personal and professional life. The internship gives students an opportunity to practice important skills that will help them to be effective workers and build a relationship network.
An example of this begins with the creation of a professional resume for the application process and continues with the verbal/nonverbal communication that goes into their interview. During the internship, a student gets to communicate on the job with a variety of people via face to face, phone and email. Completing daily tasks will require the student to ask questions and connect with resources that help them to effectively get the job done.

Brad Manley
Brad Manley

Nick Gorell | Q & A

Why did you choose to complete a Met Council internship while earning your A.A.S. degree at Inver Hills?
The initial drive to apply for the internship was to get experience outside the service industry. The $15.50 per hour starting was a big selling point as well. New Met Council interns now start at $18.50 per hour.
How did your internship prepare you for your current position?
The Met Council internship is the only reason I was able to get the position I have now. As an intern, you can apply for internal positions. Competition is less because only current employees can apply. I also was able to develop the skills and networking I needed to become the top candidate.
What advice would you give Inver students seeking to complete a Met Council internship?
Look over the different options. There are 80 different positions available with the Met Council. A person can develop the skills employers require for almost any career through an internship with the Council.
If you are looking to apply, make sure you spend all your time on answering the supplemental questions. Hiring managers rate all the applicants based on those questions. We don’t spend much time on resumes because we are hiring interns and don’t expect them to have robust resumes yet.
I help hire and mentor sales operations Interns. The postings will be closing for all internships on January 11, 2019. Sales ops will be looking to hire four interns for the summer of 2019. When I look at the applications, I rank applicants based on how they answer the supplemental questions. Applicants should make sure to articulate any and all experience they’ve had regarding the topic of the question, for example, riding the light rail. It’s better to put more than less as long as it relates to the question. If you don’t have experience on the specific question, do some research on it and talk about that. Anything is better than putting “no experience” or “I don’t have any.”
What is your workplace philosophy?
Work hard and be someone that people look up to and can easily approach. Your reputation and work ethic take years to build, but a few bad mistakes can instantly ruin it.

Three words that describe you as a professional in your field:

What do you like best about working at Met Transit?
I love my hours. I have a great balance between field work and office work. That allows me to challenge myself with different projects while working various task at a time.
There are a lot of career growth opportunities. With an aging work population over the next decade, there will be lots of retirements and job options. Met Transit also has a great Learning and Development program, so there are many cases you can take to advance your skill set outside of the regular classroom. I have taken Coaching classes and Essential Leadership classes. I am currently in a Project Management Development Program (PMDP) that is one year long and will give me the required hours and skills to be able to take the Project Manager Professionals (PMP) exam. Met Transit is are also very flexible about time off, so I am able to take multiple long vacations each year.
What is one thing every Inver Hills graduate should know?
Continue on your degree and get it done. I took nine years from the time I graduated high school because I randomly took classes. My last three semesters were the only ones that I took “full-time” 12 credits. Take as many classes as you can each semester to get your degree. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and should have buckled down and gotten my A.A. and taken it from there. It would have saved me a lot more time. Just do it!
What attributes do you look for in college interns?
When I hire someone, I look for a candidate that has good communication skills. I know the person isn’t going to have experience in the field I am hiring, but that’s okay. I can train almost anyone how to do the job we need, but I don’t have the time to teach communication. If you aren’t comfortable with public speaking, take that class and practice it. So many jobs you will need it, even if it’s just giving a status report to a group or talking in front of 100s of people.
What do you consider your toughest challenge in life?
My toughest challenge in life is documentation. I live and work in the moment, but struggle with documenting what I need. In my work life, I have to set up notes to make lists of upcoming projects. My personal life is the same way—I struggle with planning since I am used to going with the flow and not planning ahead of time.
Your greatest accomplishment so far?
My greatest work accomplishment so far was helping make Super Bowl LII successful for the Twin Cities. Metro Transit played an integral role in making the 10 days of events and the big game a huge success.
Your highest goal?
My highest goal is financial. I want to be well off, so I can retire by age 60, so I can travel and golf instead of working each week.

More about Nick…

Nick has a girlfriend, Becky, 29, and a 6-year-old male black lab named Chaunce. His sister, Casandra, 32, works as a nuclear medical technician and lives with her husband, Paul, and son, Nicolai, 2, in Washington State.
Nick enjoys playing golf and Frisbee golf during the summer. He competes in bowling and dart leagues during the winter. He loves to travel and this coming January, he and Becky are going to spend eight days in Costa Rica. In February 2019, they’re heading for the Caribbean to spend 10 days on Aruba. Other places Nick has gone include Guatemala, Canada, Mexico and the island of Kauai in Hawaii. He resides in Eagan.


Joint Career and Internship Fair

Inver Hills Community College and Dakota County Technical College

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Free and open to the public

Fine Arts Building
Inver Hills Community College
2500 East 80th Street
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

If you are looking to explore an internship opportunity or find your career path in the business, information technology or paralegal fields, this is an event you won’t want to miss.

Learn more about businesses and companies attending the event by visiting:

Search Employers

Learn more about the Center for Career Development and Community-Based Learning (CCD+CBL) at Inver Hills by contacting:

Emily Johnson
Director of Career Development
Shannon Williams
Community-Based Learning Coordinator

Learn more about the Communication Studies Transfer Pathway A.A. Degree by contacting:

Shiloh Gideon-Sjostrom
Communication Faculty

Learn more about Business programs at Inver Hills by contacting:

Hamid Kazeroony
Business Faculty

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