Mr. Don White, Senior Partner and Director of Professional Services at TowerPinkster, spoke to Mrs. Veronica Peterson’s senior class on Friday, March 3, 2017, about topics such as interviewing and job environments, millennials in the workplace, and what it takes to be successful in the professional world.
The largest architectural firm in Southwest Michigan, TowerPinkster was awarded the “Best Architecture Firm to Work For in the Nation” at the Zweig Group 2016 Hot Firm & A/E Industry Awards Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.
Mr. White explained to Mrs. Peterson’s students, that he oversees all of the firm’s 105 employees, with half under the age of thirty, and also leads the hiring process of each potential candidate.
While searching for new candidates, TowerPinkster seeks to employ individuals who are “Hungry, humble, and smart.”
“We’re searching for talent that is always looking to go to that next level- they’re constantly seeking improvement,” said Mr. White. “When I’m hiring someone, I’m looking for future leaders.”
During his presentation, Mr. White discussed several questions that he commonly asks his candidates, as well as appropriate responses to such questions.
Tell me about yourself. - Mr. White said that this is one of the most important moments of an interview. Depending on the response to this, “I will know if I’ve decided not to hire a person by then,” said Mr. White. The best response is prepared, short, and encompasses a candidate’s education and job histories.
Where do you see yourself in five years? – The best answers to this question express a desire to seek growth within the local area and company. Explaining your intentions to grow and develop within the organization indicate that you are a good, potentially long-term investment.
Tell me what you know about our company? - Do your research. He explained that in putting forth the effort to research the company, you are showing that you’re serious about the position.
What is your biggest weakness? – Mr. White suggested that the best way to answer this tricky question, is to follow it up with a positive. For example, if you’re biggest weakness is that you don’t know about a specific subject, or a particular software as well as you’d like, explain that it is something you’re researching more in order to more fully develop your knowledge on that topic.
Who is your hero? – Do not answer this question about your favorite DC or Marvel super hero! Mr. White said that with this question, an interviewer is trying to get a sense of what qualities you aspire to attain.
What do you do in your spare time? – This question is an opportunity for you to show your passion for self-improvement. Interviewers are not looking for answers such as “playing video games,” or “sleeping,” explained Mr. White.
Mr. White’s final suggestion for an outstanding interview was to come prepared with a list of questions to ask your interviewer.
The TowerPinkster senior director recalled that the most impressive question that he has been asked during an interview was, “Do you have any feedback for me?” Mr. White explained that this question opened an opportunity for him to follow-up on anything that may have been unclear during the interview, and also forced him to offer a gut-reaction about whether the interview went well, or not.
In addition to preparing the Gobles High School seniors for a professional interview environment, Mr. White also shared the story of a young man who came unprepared for an interview and was subsequently turned away. By showing up in jeans and a t-shirt, without his resume, a notebook, or even a pencil, Mr. White said that the then candidate showed that the interview wasn’t valuable enough for his full effort.
The bottom line- to do well in an interview you have to be prepared. Do your research, always present yourself in a professional manner, and set yourself apart.
For the full list of entry-level interview questions from Mr. White, see Mrs. Veronica Peterson.
Gobles High School seniors Morgan Dingman and Tanner Smalley, along with junior Alyssa Brown earned awards for their hard work after participating in conference competitions with the Van Buren Technology Center.
On Wednesday, January 4, Tanner Smalley competed in the Business Professionals of America (BPA) Leadership Conference in Benton Harbor, and earned fourth-place in Computer Network Technology.
Smalley also qualified to compete at the BPA State Leadership Conference Wednesday-Thursday, March 15-16, 2017, in Grand Rapids.
On Friday, January 20, 2017, Dingman and Brown also earned medals at the Technology Center’s DECA Chapter District Conference.
The conference hosted 611 students from 15 Southwest Michigan schools, and featured 31 events, each consisting of a written exam and a judged presentation.
During the conference, Dingman earned a medal for her overall event score for Fashion Merchandising Promotion Plan Team, and qualified for the DECA State Career Development Conference which will be held in Detroit on Friday-Sunday, March 10-12, 2017.
Brown received a medals for a high test score and a high presentation score for Professional Selling.
Congratulations to these Gobles High School students! We know that you will continue to work hard, and we will eagerly watch for your future accomplishments!
As a Gobles High School student, Jonathan Highley knew two things: he wanted to play college football, and he wanted to fly.
After he graduated from Gobles with honors in 1998, Highley embarked on a journey that would land him on the football team for the United States Air Force Academy, and in the cockpit as a commercial pilot for Delta Airlines.
His first stop was the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado – a highly prestigious and academically rigorous military institute which graduates its cadets as military officers.
Highley’s decision to attend the academy ultimately stemmed from his passion for football and his dreams of flying. When they offered him a position as outside linebacker, he knew that was the place he would call home for the next four years.
Highley played with the Air Force football team for three years before an injury left him unable to play during his senior year. Still a part of the team, Highley traveled with his teammates to Washington D.C. where they received the Commander in Chief’s Trophy, and met with President George W. Bush.
Upon graduating from the academy in 2003, Highley became an active duty Air Force officer and deployed four times to Southwest Asia- twice to Qatar, and twice to Kuwait.
During the deployments Highley flew missions to Iraq, Afghanistan and the horn of Africa, as he explained, “dropping the 3 B’s: Beans, Bullets, and Boots.”
The pilot also flew on several special operations missions with Navy Seal teams and Army Green Beret troops.
“At one point in my military career, I had to pinch myself to realize what I was actually doing. It was a very unique and cool experience to be able to actually see the effects on the world.”
After 14 years, Highley, now a Major, discharged from Active Duty and transferred to the Air National Guard. As a part of his full-time job, he flies commercial planes, on domestic and international flights, with Delta Airlines based in North Carolina.
“It’s a sickness. I just love being up in the sky. Every place you go is different, you always learn something new, and I hope that never stops,” he said.
As a pilot for Delta, Highley has flown several NHL, NBA, and MLB teams to and from sporting events.
Highley said his biggest supporters have always been his parents John and Linda Highley, his sisters, Jaime and Lindsay, his wife, Haley, and their two children Jonathan and Leighton. Major Highley’s father, John Highley, served as Treasurer for several years on the Gobles Public Schools Board of Education.
The Gobles graduate credits his teachers and coaches at Gobles Public Schools with helping him to develop the hard work and never-give-up mentalities that prepared him to be successful at the Air Force Academy, and throughout his careers. The pilot expressed gratitude for the people and community members who pushed him when he was younger.
“You want to do well for these people who put in so much time and effort into developing you as a person,” said Highely. “You don’t want to let these people down.
The Gobles Voltage robotics team’s building season began with the Kickoff Event on Saturday, January 7, 2017.
At the Kickoff Event, the team learned the theme of this year’s game: FIRST Steamworks, a twist on the science fiction genre and trend that features historical settings with steam-powered machinery.
Coached by Mr. John O’Neil, Gobles Middle/High School Math and Project Lead The Way Engineering teacher, the Gobles Voltage team is ready for a challenge, and eager to build a robot with a competitive edge.
Principal Phil McAndrew explained that the program has really taken off, and he is looking forward to watching the team compete as they aim for a spot at the state finals.
The team’s robot from last year, Sebastian, advanced to the finals at the Battle Creek Lakeview Districts.
“The Gobles community and Gobles Public Schools have supported the robotics program in each of the four years of its existence. We continue to improve each season, and enjoy teaching people about our robotics club,” said Coach O’Neil.
The Gobles Voltage will compete at St. Joseph High School on March, 9-10, 2017, and at Gull Lake High School on March 16-18, 2017.
For more information on FIRST Steamworks, watch the Kickoff Event video, and be sure to sign up for the team’s newsletter on the Gobles Voltage website.
Gobles Middle/High School added 26 new books to its library thanks to a $500 donation from the Gobles High School Class of 1966.
Selected by Mrs. Lumbert, the books are a part of a STEM series intended to boost the interest and educate students on the growing careers of tomorrow.
Gobles Public Schools would like to thank the Class of 1966 for its very generous donation, and constant support of our students, and district.
Grant recipient, Mrs. Megan Ivester, has transformed her classroom with alternative seating for her fourth-grade students with the help of a grant that she received from the Gobles Foundation.
Research shows that alternative seating, such as the wobble chairs and exercise balls in Mrs. Ivester’s room, has helped students to expend latent energy in a constructive manner, which can positively affect their ability to focus, engage, and learn.
All of the fourth-grade science and STEM classes have benefitted from the use of the new seating, and the students have enjoyed making it a part of their daily routine.
“The students are so excited to have non-traditional classroom seating and always look forward to alternating to new seats weekly. The new arrangements have already proven to be an effective way to keep kids moving and active, while attentively listening and doing work,” said Mrs. Ivester.
Mrs. Ivester would like to thank the Gobles Foundation for its help in making learning an active and exciting activity.