Elizabeth Forward High School welcomed a panel of Olympus Energy employees to the classroom this May to learn more about careers in the energy industry. The virtual career panel featured an attorney, a computer-aided design (CAD) professional, an engineer, and a supply chain professional who discussed their path after high school, current professional role, and contributions to the success of Olympus.
Each panelist brought a unique perspective to career exploration and personal development. Manager of Drilling and Completions Anthony Miller explained that he enlisted in the National Guard during his senior year of high school. He was in basic training when the 9/11 terrorist attack occurred. He later served as a military mechanic and was deployed to Iraq from 2003-2004. After returning home he earned a 4-year petroleum and natural gas engineering degree with a minor in geology from West Virginia University.
“You don’t have to be the best and brightest to become an engineer, you just have to be a hard worker and be passionate,” said Miller. “I chose engineering because I thought it was fun to be hands-on, to solve different problems every day, and to better understand how things work.”
Tom Irwin, a senior CAD designer and Ringgold High School graduate, discussed his choice to attend a 2-year technical program to earn an associate’s degree in computer science from Pittsburgh Technical Institute. He explained how the financial burden of education led him to the decision to work full-time while earning his degree.
“No matter what path you choose after high school, knowing how to work and collaborate with others will always serve you,” said Irwin. “My best advice is to always find a way to advance your skills professionally, network like crazy, and build upon your work ethic.”
Senior Legal Counsel and Director of Title Sarah Rambin discussed how her commitment to finding internships throughout her undergraduate program at Penn State helped her decide that she was interested in applying to law school at the University of Pittsburgh. She explained that her role as an attorney at Olympus is to help the company solve complex problems, which is something she had a passion for as a high school student.
“When I was in high school, I thought all attorneys were like what you see on TV,” Rambin told the students. “Quarrelling in a courtroom doesn’t fit my personality, but other components of the legal field, like writing, problem-solving, and research, do. I finally decided to apply to law school once I began to understand the breadth of opportunity the field could offer me.”
Jake Cole, manager of supply chain, discussed his role in managing business relationships with vendors to help ensure each meets the standards and needs of Olympus. Cole is an Elizabeth Forward High School graduate and later earned a bachelor’s degree from California University and an MBA from Waynesburg University.
“Be open-minded,” said Cole. “I never thought that I would go back to school to earn an MBA mid-career, or even be in this field working alongside attorneys like Sarah to vet vendors and secure contracts. I made decisions that challenged me to grow, and I couldn’t be happier.”
The program was attended by 27 high school students in grades 9 through 12. Elizabeth Forward School District Transition Coordinator Mike Huber championed the session on behalf of the school in order to raise awareness of career paths and better prepare students for future employment, which he discussed with the Mon Valley Independent (MVI).
Huber explained to MVI that he organizes a program for students that focuses on career awareness, exploration, and preparation. The awareness phase involves students going through an assessment of their skills and interests, followed by deciding where they want to go and how to get there. Olympus’s career panel allowed students to begin exploring career options by affording them the opportunity to engage with professionals from various fields of work.