Reinvention is the key to longevity in business if Alfred State’s Auxiliary Campus Enterprises and Service Inc. (ACES) is any example. This fall, the company is celebrating its 70th year in business.
At ACES, reinvention means that every fall the company has to renew itself to appeal to its new crop of customers. ACES is a not-for-profit company that supports the education mission of Alfred State.
“College students always want the latest and greatest innovations in services, it’s really human nature,” explained ACES Executive Director David Sengstock. “What is fun about our company is that we have to anticipate the services they want and then deliver them with excellence. This challenge keeps us young.”
ACES provides dining services, campus bookstores, transportation, vending, and laundry services at Alfred State. The organization also owns and manages the Lake Lodge in Alfred Station.
As a partner of Alfred State, ACES plays a critical role in attracting the best students to the college. Last year, the company provided more than 500 scholarships for area high school students who meet academic criteria. ACES annually provides additional educational support for the college, including help for the peer tutoring program and the culinary arts program among others.
“Our remarkable longevity can be attributed to our ability to stay nimble and our long-standing commitment to the college,” Sengstock explained.
As a 70-year-old company, ACES relies on a stable, flexible, and well-trained workforce to keep moving forward.
“It’s important to note that our employees -- many, many of whom have worked for us for over 20 years -- are critical to our company and to our student customers. It is our dedicated full-time staff who helps us become a new company every year,” stated ACES Director of Human Resources Christina Loper. “They are completely dedicated to our students. We get to know our student customers and love and nurture them as they move through their college experience.”
On Nov. 17, ACES will celebrate this major milestone throughout the day with prizes and gifts for lucky students. Employees will receive a special token as well. A celebration cake, crafted by Alfred State culinary arts: baking, production & management students from Wellsville, will cap off the festivities at the Terrace in Central Dining Hall during dinner on the Alfred campus.
First published in 2009, Military Friendly® Schools is the most comprehensive, powerful resource for veterans today. Each year, the list of Military Friendly® Schools is provided to service members and their families, helping them select the best college, university, or trade school to receive the education and training needed to pursue a civilian career.
Institutions earning the Military Friendly® School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from Victory Media’s proprietary survey. More than 1,600 schools participated in the 2017 survey; 1,160 were awarded with the designation.
Ratings methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Victory Media with input from the Military Friendly® Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for Student Retention, Graduation, Job Placement, Loan Repayment, Persistence (Degree Advancement or Transfer) and Loan Default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.
Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State, said, “Our college is proud to be named a Military Friendly® School for the seventh straight year, and to be recognized for our commitment to providing veterans and their families with the means and resources they need to achieve their educational and professional goals. Alfred State is grateful for the service and sacrifice of our military men and women, and we will always extend a warm welcome to them and their loved ones.”
According to Daniel Nichols, a Navy Reserve veteran and chief product officer at Victory Media, “Our ability to apply a clear, consistent standard to the majority of colleges gives veterans a comprehensive view of which schools are striving to provide the best opportunities and conditions for our nation’s student veterans. Military Friendly® helps military families make the best use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other federal benefits while allowing us to further our goal of assisting them in finding success in their chosen career fields.”
For more information about the commitment to attracting and supporting military students, visit the veterans web page.
Alfred State will be showcased along with other 2017 Military Friendly® Schools in the annual Guide to Military Friendly® Schools, special education issues of G.I. Jobs® and Military Spouse Magazine, and on militaryfriendly.com.
For students enrolled in any of the 70-plus majors at Alfred State, the hands-on learning and real-world experiences they receive help give them a competitive edge when it comes time to enter the workforce.
The college’s reputation for producing job-ready candidates continues to spread, and many employers are finding graduates from the Business Department eager and ready to contribute to their teams.
After hiring graduates with a degree in business administration, Trish Ryall with The Partners Insurance & Financial Services concluded that her company “found them to be very well prepared, professional, and ready to work.”
When evaluating sport management graduates who joined his team, Rob Gilchrist, CEO of Hornell YMCA said, “They come to us prepared and passionate about serving our community.”
Level Financial Advisors out of Amherst, also recently welcomed two members of the Alfred State family to its ranks, hiring former professor Winfred Jacob as a senior financial advisor, and soon-to-be December graduate Alanna Conciardo as a financial planning associate.
Conciardo, a financial planning major from Buffalo, is the third Alfred State student to be hired at Level Financial Advisors, joining 2007 financial planning grads Steven Elwell, originally from Arkport, and Paul Coleman, an Almond native. She recently completed a 14-week internship at Level as part of the requirements to obtain her degree.
According to Danielle Green, chair of the Business Department at Alfred State, the college’s financial planning program is one of four majors within the department that requires an internship experience to graduate. All of the department’s programs, however, expose students to the hands-on experience employers look for, through coursework, internships, and more.
“We consistently hear that our students are entering the workforce prepared and armed with the skills necessary to be successful,” Green said. “Oftentimes, our students are hired directly out of their internships for full-time positions. We hear that our students are quick learners, and willing to take on new challenges as they arise.”
In addition to their classes and internships, business students at Alfred State are receiving valuable experiences through the college’s chapter of the Business Professionals of America, as well as educational field trips. Recently, business students attended the Financial Planning Association’s (FPA) Annual Conference in Baltimore, where they were able to expand their knowledge and network with industry professionals, and also received expert advice on retirement planning at an FPA event in Rochester.
All of these experiences and opportunities are paying off, literally, for both the students and their employers. Michael Heburn, chief operating officer at Level Financial Advisors, said as a growing advisory firm, Level is frequently on the lookout for great new talent to add to their workforce, and that Alfred State is the first place they begin their search.
“Two of our CFP® professionals came from the Alfred State financial planning program, including one of our partners,” he said, referring to Elwell and Coleman. “Most recently, we added Alanna Conciardo and we couldn’t be more pleased with her results as an intern. What I find in all of these individuals is a level of preparedness and capability that is truly unique. The college produces high-quality, confident professionals who are ready to contribute from the minute they join the workforce."
After only about a month since renovations to the MacKenzie Complex began, great progress is already being made in the effort to transform the building into the largest and most modern residence hall within the State University of New York system.
According to Glenn Brubaker, director of Facilities Operations, the demolition work on phase one of the MacKenzie Makeover project is about 60 percent complete after the physical work on the facility started in early October.
“So far, the project is moving along smoothly, as we are just getting underway. The satellite boiler project for the entire MacKenzie Complex is also underway, with DASNY (Dormitory Authority of the State of New York) and the consultants coordinating the two projects to create a symbiotic relationship for both of them,” said Brubaker, referring to the college’s boiler decentralization effort, which involves eliminating campus buildings’ dependency on the college’s main heating plant through the installation of new, more efficient condensing boilers.
The first phase of the MacKenzie Makeover involves renovating the East Tower to create a new entrance and gathering spaces for students on each floor, while reinventing the Central Quad to create an attractive core for the 1,200-student residence hall that is warm, welcoming, and feels like an extension of one’s own home. The quad’s design includes a 35-foot-tall atrium with the light illuminating natural surfaces of rock and wood throughout.
Phase one, Brubaker said, is expected to be completed by Nov. 30, 2017. He said the design of phase two is currently underway, which entails completing work on MacKenzie East, such as renovating row house 8 and Tower G.
“Also, all of MacKenzie South will be renovated,” Brubaker said. “This includes row houses 9, 10, and 11, and Towers H and J. Construction for phase two is tentatively scheduled to begin in May 2018.”
Whether traveling a great distance or just down the road, focusing on mechanical engineering or health care, employers are continuing to flock to Alfred State to recruit students who are the perfect fit for their organization.
In fact, a total of 109 employers registered for the college’s two career fairs held last month on the Alfred and Wellsville campuses. These events provided an excellent networking opportunity for students, who were able to connect with and learn more about the companies they may end up working for after graduation.
As they have done in the past, representatives from computer networking company Cisco Meraki traveled thousands of miles from San Francisco to Alfred, looking to recruit information technology: network administration students. The company, which currently employs four Alfred State alums, also held an information session and on-campus interviews.
“The students definitely have the aptitude and the drive to make a difference,” Chuck Slack, technology support manager at Cisco Meraki, said of Alfred State network administration students. “A lot of their program helps set the tone for what they’re going to be doing when they get out there on the job. They’re very hard-working people, some of our top-performing, for sure.”
Returning to their alma mater to recruit students for Balfour Beatty Construction were Vice President Dan Novack, Senior Project Engineer Carley Youngman, and Project Engineer Andrew Hydock, who made the trip up from Virginia. Balfour Beatty has hired numerous Alfred State grads, several of whom are in high-level positions.
“When they are on the job, they get to use the skills they are learning here, which are very valuable,” Hydock said. “They come in with an advantage because they have real-world experience.”
Youngman added, “Alfred State is a school of technology, so all of the technical stuff students are learning here, they can instantly apply in our field, whereas as at some of the larger schools, students don’t have as much technical experience, so they have to be taught some of those skills on the job.”
Christina Tschantre, human resources manager at Corning, Inc., agreed that Alfred State students “definitely come out of college with good hands-on experience.”
“Also, we’ve been able to partner with some of the professors here to have students come and work with us so they know what we’re all about and what we need them to know coming out of their programs at Alfred State,” she said.
Jennifer Duffy, regional human resources business partner at Maine Drilling & Blasting, said her company has had tremendous success working with Alfred State grads in the past, who have “turned into really excellent members of our team.”
“They have a terrific work ethic and seem to be ready to go to work right away,” said Duffy, who had traveled from Bethel, PA to recruit Alfred State students. “I think we do a pretty good job explaining what it is we do, because it is rough work and we want people to understand what they’re getting into, but Alfred State students are just ready to get out there and get their hands in it.”
If you are an employer interested in recruiting Alfred State’s talented students/alumni, please contact Elaine Morsman, director of the Career Development Center, to find out how to connect with JobLink at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-587-4060.