Bronco Spotlight: Ryan Helm
Procurement Operations Specialist at Navistar International Corporation
I will be starting my role in June 2020, working within Procurement at Navistar’s Global Headquarters in Lisle, Illinois. I will work with a team of Supply Chain Managers to source new suppliers, engage in contract negotiations, engage in cost savings projects, and fill service part backorders.
If you had a campus job or internship, how did they impact your career development?
I had two internships while at Western Michigan University. My first internship was with Flexfab, which is a Tier 1 Flexible Hose Manufacturer. I worked as a Supply Chain Intern at their Distribution Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan, working as a Team Lead for Bronco Force Projects, leading Western Michigan University students in continuous improvement projects. My second internship was with Navistar International Corporation, which is a Truck, Bus, and Military Vehicle Manufacturer. I worked as a Procurement Intern within the Powertrain Category Management Team and worked on various projects involving service parts for our dealerships.
Both of these internships greatly impacted my career development. My internship at Flexfab allowed me to grow as a leader, teaching me how to assemble teams and helped me grow as a servant leader. My internship at Navistar allowed me to grow my professional communication skills and taught me a lot about project management. These internships gave me the confidence to lead and contribute in a major way within a short time being employed. They gave me the experience to speak up and provide my input and opinion while working with Senior Level Leadership, despite my age and experience.
What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?
While at Western, I had the opportunity to serve on executive boards for both the Supply Chain Management Association (Formerly APICS), and Delta Sigma Pi: Epsilon Omicron Chapter. I served on the executive board for the Supply Chain Management Association (Formerly APICS) for the past two years, as the Fundraising Chair and Social Planner. This organization gave me endless professional connections and gave me a lot of insight into what it is like to work in a supply chain related job. I also served on the executive board for the Delta Sigma Pi: Epsilon Omicron Chapter for the past two years, as the Vice President of Organizational Technology, and the Vice President of Scholarships and Awards. This gave me the ability to build my cross-functional communication skills and allowed me to lead 70+ students each year. Additionally, this Fraternity has provided me with a network of 275,000+ brothers throughout the world.
Which of your skills had the biggest impact on your success?
The skill that has had the biggest impact on my success has been my work ethic. For much of my Junior and Senior Year at Western, I worked in Grand Rapids, while going to school full time, and serving on two executive boards. Although stressful, doing this made me manage my time much wiser, and gave me the experience I needed to grow as a leader, a person, and a professional.
What experiences impacted the choice of your career path?
The experience that had the greatest impact on my choice of my career path was the Business Externship Program. I attribute my participation in the Business Externship Program to my success attaining Internships and a full-time job. I had the opportunity to Extern with Coyote Logistics, Eaton, and Navistar while I participated in the Externship Program in the Spring of 2017. The Externship Program gave me the perfect opportunity to put my foot in the door at Navistar, which eventually led to an internship and a full-time job. This opportunity gave me the insight that I needed to reassure myself that Integrated Supply Management was a major I wanted to go into, and that Navistar was the type of company I would like to work for in the future. I cannot recommend this program enough.
What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours?
My advice for others pursuing a career like mine is to be as involved as much as possible while in college. Participating in several organizations within the Haworth College of Business allowed me to grow a large network of friends, classmates, and professionals throughout the United States. I have grown so much from the friends, mentors, and professional connections I have made throughout my time at Western, and I am so thankful for each one of them. Growing a large network will make your college and professional experiences more fun, more fulfilling, and will give you a much higher chance to be successful in everything you do.