Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new this year. We are interviewing various UMD Alumni about how their experiences at UMD have impacted their professional lives. They will also be giving their advice for being successful out there in the real world.
Major: Political Science
Grad Date: Class of 1975
Organization, title, and a brief synopsis of what you do
Hartel’s/DBJ Disposal Companies. My main function is commercial sales but this is a family business and that means doing whatever needs doing!
What were the jobs, opportunities, and/or classes you had that led to your current role?
I had a 35-year career in the Foodservice Distribution Business where I was a street sales person, district sales manager, director of marketing, sales trainer, and specialist. I had the great experience of being part of a team that took the company from under $20 million per year in sales to over $220 million! Later in my career, I received an offer to get into the commercial trash and recycling field and I took it! My experiences at UMD were instrumental in developing confidence, preparation skills, and a vast array of people skills. From college, I began in real estate sales and then onto the Foodservice sales.
What were some of the lessons you learned while on-campus at UMD you’ve incorporated into your professional life?
I had a rather unique experience being a Duluth native, I was a commuter for my first 3 years but got involved with athletics, work-study, and social groups which proved invaluable to my whole college life.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known prior to entering your role/field?
I don’t know that it would have been accessible. What has been continuously reinforced has been the value of integrity and solving problems instead of selling stuff.
What career advice do you have for students wishing to enter your field?
I would say consider the careers in the “less glamorous” fields, they’re interesting and can be lucrative. If you like to deal with people, most sales positions will be worth it!
Anything else you want to add about your time at UMD, or since, that greatly impacted where you are now?
Keep challenging yourself, stick your neck out, and dream big! Give back! My time in Rotary has been a joy and the opportunity to serve is outstanding! Usually, the best things happen when you’re not even looking (but you have to be out there so they can find you!).
Interested in Hartel’s/DBJ Disposal Companies? Check out their employment page.