Now in its’ fourth year, our internship program has produced over 20 new employees for our company the last few summers. Pictured L to R: Carter, Rachael, Tanner, Shiloh, Joey, Claire, Carley, Peter and Colin.
Before we had even taken lunch on the interns’ first day of the TKC/32M internship program, we had already been told multiple times that we were going to be “thrown into the fire”. For someone who has never taken a business course in school or held a real office job, those were some pretty daunting words to hear right away. Yet, as that first day went on, the energy and excitement of the TKC/32M staff became contagious and “getting thrown into the fire” didn’t sound so bad anymore. In the following weeks, we settled into our weekly intern rotation through the office, working in a different department and learning new skill sets each week. So far, I have spent time answering calls in the customer service department, creating mock-ups for marketing, working on executive projects, and just about everything in between. I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with a wide variety of the TKC/32M staff, including executives, on projects that are meaningful to the day-to-day and big-picture vision for our business.
By now, it’s clear to me that sometimes, if not most times, being “thrown into the fire” is the best way to learn and evolve - especially at a company like TKC/32M that prides itself on relentless innovation. Realizing that everyone within the TKC/32M organization is passionate and committed to our mission makes it easy to approach and lean on people when necessary but also take the liberty to work independently without worry. The company culture along with the structure of the internship program at TKC/32M creates a sort of incubator where, as long as you understand your responsibilities and approach tasks with the right mindset, confidence, and resources, you’re poised for meaningful growth each and every day.
The past 8 weeks of the Three Square Market/Turnkey Corrections internship program has been more than I could have ever expected. Being able to have hands-on experience in every part of the business is providing me with lifelong skills that I will take with me into my future career. Some of the highlights of the first half of the internship have included: Working with marketing to create a flyer for Self-Pay Stores, coordinating with the Success Team to find urban apartments and make connections, and being able to go on site to an up and coming Self-Pay Store to get measurements and pictures.
This internship has most of all, helped me understand the importance of communication and teamwork. Moving to a different department every week, you really learn how to communicate with leadership, and coworkers. I believe the Three Square Market/Turnkey Corrections internship has set me up for success in my future endeavors.
This internship has been a great learning opportunity that I am very grateful for. I have gained so much knowledge about this company and business in general. From marketing to finance, and everything in between, the variety of work that we are able to do here is awesome. One week I am crawling under desks and connecting wires for the IT department, and the next week I am trying to figure out an embroidery machine using a manual that was translated from Chinese with our marketing team.
Aside from gaining business experience, I have enjoyed building relationships with the other interns and employees. I almost always leave every conversation with an employee saying, “let me know if you have any more questions. I would love to help!” The atmosphere around here is great, and I love coming to work ready to see what I am going to learn next!
The internship experience has been that, an experience. I didn’t know what I was in for when I came in, and I feel like that was almost better than knowing exactly what was in store for me. I say that because this internship isn’t something that is easy to prepare for. There’s so much you are asked to do, and that’s what makes it so amazing. You aren’t coming in and (for me) programming all day. Every single day is a new adventure and that’s why you can’t really prepare for it, no matter how hard you try. Everything you do also holds a certain magnitude to it. You aren’t just paper pushing, or doing odd jobs for the managers, you are doing things that are going to make a direct and sometimes immediate impact on the company as a whole. You’re treated like an adult that can do helpful things here and now, not just an intern.
Beyond the legitimate work duties, the atmosphere of the building and community is great. You could walk up to anyone, even people you’ve never spoken to before, and ask them a question and they answer like you’ve been working with them for years. Each person is filled with a sort of kindness and helpful nature, and let me be the first to tell you it’s infectious.
When I first started this internship, I was not exactly sure what to think. Coming in as a mechanical engineering major had me worried because I was scared that I was not going to get the experience that I was looking for. Little did I know, Turnkey and 32Market have a lot of confidence and trust in their interns and allow them to take on projects that are of vital importance to the company. The co-workers around the office are very supportive and excited to have the interns helping out with projects and coming up with new ideas.
Being with the other interns brings a good sense of belonging to the company because you are not the only one that may be struggling with a project that is giving you issues. Everyone around the office wants to help.
Besides going around the different departments and learning how the company functions, I was able to work on a big project for Todd Westby that could save 32Market a lot of money in the long run. I was able to develop and build upon my own ideas as well as implementing Todd’s wants and needs in the product. The amount of trust that is put on me as an intern has me worried because I feel like what I am doing is not good enough, but I know that there are other co-workers that will help me along the way and that they would not have hired me if they felt like I would not do a good job. It’s not everyday that you have the CEO come sit with you at your desk and show off your work to other executives.
Walking in on my first day of the internship would sum up my original thoughts, “what am I going to do”, “will I succeed and do well”, “will I be able to complete all the tasks I am asked” are just a few initial thoughts. I was very intimated by the idea of a “big kid internship” for the fact in which again I had no idea what was to come, and school can’t teach you all real-life things. The program to this date has been nothing but extraordinary and full of new knowledge and in my word’s success. Turnkey Corrections and Three-Square Market have a solid base line and many things to learn from in this program. With it being twelve weeks long I was not sure what would fill all that time, but I have been in no doubt of free time in the first seven weeks. I have been placed into new environments and given tasks to figure out and complete which has been the largest take away so far.
“We are not looking to hire for a job, but for a career” is a statement that is in my mind each and every day of this program. The quote was hit home and really sunk in last week in my time in customer service. The week was filled with knowledge, information, direction to in which all fall onto each company and help people get a better understanding of products and duties that are done by our teams. The week had taught me that in a career you need to know and understand all aspects of the products and situations you work in on a day to day basis. This internship will and has been a great wealth of knowledge and motivation to always push for more and be great. One week may be filled with more knowledge that the other, but the tasks and objectives that are given are things that can be held onto for a lifetime and transferred from one career to the next to enhance and create a better working employee. I would recommend this program to anyone of any major for the reasons in which there is so much more entailed than one may ever expect.
After only being with the company for a month and a half. I have never felt more welcomed at any job I have ever had before. Everyone is so nice and easy to talk to which makes asking questions a lot easier. As for the internship itself, I feel like I have already learned a lot about the company by having the chance to move to a different department each week. Another great thing about the internship is that all of the work that we do directly affects the company.
We are not just given busy work. We are given projects and tasks that are very important and make you feel like you are being an impact straight away. I would recommend this internship program to anybody that I know, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to excel my business knowledge through the program.
The personal experience I have undergone working with TurnKey Corrections and Three Square Market has been incredible. I believe I have achieved what I wanted out of the internship and much more. I was a little nervous at first as I did not think the company would tie in to my degree of Data Science and Analytics, but they proved me wrong and opened up my eyes as to what I can do with it in the future. I was skeptical of what data science would be like in the work force whether I could enjoy it or not. Being half way through the internship program, they have helped me see that I am glad I choose my major and what I can do with it. Not only do I get the chance to experience data science with my final project, I also get to work with multiple departments throughout the companies such as marketing, inside sales, warehouse, small projects, and customer service. This was one of my main reasons for choosing this internship program as I was given the chance to work in different job positions each week and learn something new each week. I was not set on just having an internship for data science, but to get the opportunity to experience multiple jobs throughout a company. It opened up my eyes as to how a business operates and how the various positions help a company be successful.
The experience working here motivated me to work hard and be a team player, but the people that mentored me were really the icing on the cake. Everyone was friendly, positive, and all around wonderful people. They enjoyed coming to work, getting the job done, and were always there to help when needed. Having a background in sports, I understand what it is like working as a team helping each other out, and working together to get a job done. I must say, both companies are exactly like that. Everyone is more than willing to help me be successful in the positions I got the chance to be part of. It is a team effort and everyone has the same goal; making sure you get the work done, and help the companies run efficiently. I am fortunate and thankful to be a part of the internship program and have the chance to work for both companies over the summer.
While interning at Three Square Market/TurnKey Corrections, I have absorbed so much knowledge of the company and the business world. On the very first day, 32M president, Patrick McMullan said, “On your drive home today, relish in the fact that you do not know anything about the company. Throughout this internship, you will know and learn more than you ever thought possible.” From this internship program, I’m gaining hands-on experience, networking with experts, receiving professional feedback, and further discovering my passions.
This internship has equipped me with a plethora of skills I will take with me for the rest of my career. In a time when internships are no longer happening, I am beyond grateful to the company for providing the interns a once in a lifetime experience.
Our interns are nearing the end of their 12 week journey. Each of them is required to focus on a company challenge or opportunity, research it, meet with team members and leaders, and present a solution/recommendation.
Tanner Mehrkens completed his internship a few weeks early as he is returning to classes at Georgia Southern University later this month. Tanner presented his solutions on our service practices for our correctional facility clients to our team earlier this week and received his completion certificate. Below is a summation, in their own words, of all of the projects our team is working on this summer and we can’t wait to see their recommendations and the results they will produce.
I have spent the last two months diving deep into private labeling and what we can do at TurnKey Corrections to use our own private labeling more. I have had the chance to meet many amazing and helpful people throughout this project and it is all starting to come together well. As we draw near the end of this internship and project I think back to the day I was assigned the Project and I never thought that I would be so knowledgeable on private labeling. This project has really shown me that with hard work and a lot of help you can become very successful.
I’ve been working through my final project intern video, both the long version as well as the commercial version. Along with the actual video I’ve been creating my opening and closing speech. These both have absolutely challenged my writing and speaking skills in the best way possible. I’m incredibly excited to get this presentation underway!
This summer has flown by and I can’t believe that it is almost done. I have spent the summer working on a final project for Turnkey Corrections. They gave me a big task to research how we can enhance our vending in jails. After a lot of work, I am excited to say that I am finally wrapping up my project. This project has been a great learning experience, and I am thankful for Patrick and the public speaking tips that he has given us so that we are ready to present in a couple weeks. I am excited to present my project to the company’s employees, but I am also sad to see this internship come to an end.
As the internship is coming to an end, the final presentation for our projects has become real. My project is exploring new ways to advertise in our 32M self-pay locations. To do so, I first needed to create a Three Square Market business and marketing plan. For the last several weeks, I have been working heavily on learning everything imaginable regarding the company, to guide my project and make it fantastic. Although I am thrilled to present my final project, I am heartbroken to leave this wonderful internship and all of the amazing individuals who impacted my experience.
Over the last few months at Three Square Market, I have been doing a performance examination of our operators and stores with the intent to find out what 32M services and features are most effective. I have looked at things like our intelligent inventory services, our pricing recommendations, our payment options, incremental item selection, and perks such as coupons and rewards programs to see which of our 32M operators are utilizing the services we offer and whether or not these services affect our operators’ productivity. My findings have been interesting, but they have also been overshadowed by all of the lessons I have learned along the way. I have sifted through mountains of data, talked to co-workers and operators, and done a great deal of independent research to come to the conclusions I have found. There were many times that I had to take a few steps back and re-evaluate the point I was trying to make or scrap my work altogether. As the day of our intern final presentations looms, I feel that the challenges I and the rest of the interns have had to overcome in creating our projects have prepared us immeasurably. Although presentation day is nerve racking and sad because it signifies the end of our time at Three Square Market this summer, it is also highly anticipated as it is the final hurdle and perhaps the interns’ greatest challenge yet!
With the internship wrapping up, I would have to say that everything is coming full circle and the idea that the program goes fast has really shown. My final project in the past few weeks has also come full circle and I have completed a lot of tasks that revolve around it. My final project was to enhance the online jail markets that Turnkey Corrections could add to their company, and offer to inmates. I feel as if I have a solid idea of what needs to be done in the remaining week, and look forward to seeing the final project myself. Presentations have always been a little bit intimidating to me, but with the proper preparation and skills to use and follow I feel confident in my ability to follow through and do great.
As our 12 week internship is coming to an end, we have a big presentation to the executives. My project is to talk about self opportunities, this includes: writing a marketing plan, competitor information, trade shows, development changes and much more. I have spent a lot of time researching and brainstorming different ideas. After getting all my ideas down I have focused on putting things into a slide show and preparing for the actual presentation. I have been given so much help along the way and I am so excited to share what I have come up with.
As the internship is coming to an end, I have been trying to wrap up all the little details for my final project. My project is trying to figure out the growth revenue a jail would see if they added all of our service for TurnKey Correction rather than just adding one or two of our services. Over the last couple of months, it has really challenged me to figure out how to set up the data and then analyze this data. To me, this has been a great way to show off my skills of what I have learned in school, but also challenge myself being in the real world and figuring out how to solve this problem and to show the company evidence as to why a jail would see a better growth revenue with all of our wonderful services than just a few.
Tanner was a great intern and a fun person to be around. With him finishing the internship early it hit the rest of us hard that this experience is coming to a close. We got to hear about his great presentation, and we are all excited to go in and present our own projects to the company. We cannot be grateful enough for the learning experience that we have gotten this summer, as well as friendships that will last our lifetimes.
Intern Tanner Mehrkens pictured with our Internship Coordinator (and former intern), Jack Bock.
As we get closer to finishing the book Extreme Ownership, written by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, one chapter that I feel has correlated with my internship is chapter 6, Simple. At the beginning of the internship, every intern was given a final project to conduct further research. At the end of the 12 weeks, we are to present a recommendation to the executives of TKC/32M. Check out last week's post to learn more about it! With the layout of the internship, we all move from department to department. Given a new task each week while keeping up on the final project was tricky in the beginning. I began to overcomplicate my tasks, which stressed me out. In every department, the managers were making the tasks as simple as they possibly could. Every one of them told me the importance of asking any questions to help clarify anything I did not understand. After a few weeks of getting the flow down, I realized that I was putting too much pressure on my project. All I needed to do was take it one step at a time and work on a section. Everything else would follow along, but I needed to be like the managers and make it simpler for myself.
Throughout our entire internship program, we were given a great opportunity to listen to the book Extreme Ownership. I would say that every chapter we listen to relates to the business world, and everyday life. One chapter that sticks out to me the most is chapter 7, “Prioritize and Execute”. Each week we worked in different departments that had us do tasks or projects that were required to get done or passed on to the next intern. Because of this, I felt overwhelmed with how little time I had to get the tasks or projects done. I would also be worried about the next task I had to do the following week. After listening and presenting chapter 7, it really helped me realize that everyone feels this way! No matter how great of a leader you are, you can get overwhelmed in these situations. What stuck out to me the most was how simple Jocko explained how to correct this. You need to prioritize the most important task you have first. After you complete that, then you can move on to the next. Jocko also taught me to not worry about being overwhelmed, and having a plan to get whatever task or job done that will be thrown at me.
I think my biggest takeaway from Extreme Ownership would be chapter 5, “Cover and Move.” During the internship, we have had some very busy weeks. During these busy weeks, it can be tricky to navigate what specific tasks you should be working on. In each department, you are given either one big job or a handful of smaller tasks. While working in these departments, we are sometimes pulled to help in other areas. For example, Carter and I were the first two interns to work on the map project. We received information from managers on what the real goal and mission of this task included. Once our week was up, it was time to move to a different department. Although we were in our new departments, we still needed to ensure Claire and Tanner were up to date on the project, along with answering any questions. Carter and I had to make sure we were getting our tasks done, but also needed to help the team and the overall mission. We covered and moved, if we needed to help the team, we communicated with our current department supervisors and moved to help the overall mission.
Chapter 9: After reading this chapter I would have to say that overall the whole chapter pertains to the experience I have had here at Turnkey Corrections and Three Square Market. The idea in the chapter is that there is always a “plan” with having a plan things are set out to accomplish and conquer such as a mission in the workplace. From the first interview there has been a plan for all of us depending on the approval to the program. Having a plan will and has guided and helped employees reach their full potential and create a better working environment. A large fact that was also stated in this chapter is the fact we can’t focus on the issues that we don’t know. In life I feel as if people spend a lot of time looking into potential issues while they could take that energy and put it into their real mission/ work. Issues are unknown and the best way to take them on is to face them head on when they arise. The book has so many connections to life it really is hard to just connect one, the book is full of life experiences and advice to help push people to do their best, while also helping other people out. Having extreme ownership of your own life and the actions you make can be challenging but through and through if you are able to do so you will hopefully do nothing but succeed in life.
There were many chapters of Extreme Ownership that related directly back to our last few months during this internship. This summer has been filled with different learning opportunities through hands-on work and through the audiobook that we have been listening to each week. The chapter that I have found related to us was Chapter 8: Decentralized Command. This chapter talked about how teams must be broken down into small enough groups with more junior leaders because it is not efficient for one leader to be in charge of too many people. Those junior leaders must not just understand what the overall mission is, but WHY it is the mission. This relates to us because it wouldn’t work if Jack, our internship leader, was in charge of advising all nine of us about everything we had to do in each department every week. That would be a lot to manage. Instead, each week we are given a leader from that specific department to work with one intern. Those department leaders know the clear and concise overall mission of the internship program to help make everything run smoothly and efficiently.
I have noticed a lot of connections between the book Extreme Ownership and our internship. The one that really sticks out to me is from Chapter 7 which is the concept of prioritizing and executing. I have been given many projects this summer and they have all been important. I have learned very quickly that you need to prioritize your work so that the most important one at the time gets taken care of, then you can move onto the next priority. It can be stressful when you are given multiple projects at a time but by reading this book I have learned what I can do to control my stress and complete one task at a time to the best of my abilities. Also with the help of all the great employees at Three Square Market, and TurnKey Corrections it is easy to talk with people who can help you solve questions and complete tasks. I am very thankful that we read this book through the internship because I have learned valuable life lessons not only in the business world but for myself.
The biggest and most obvious connection I had during the internship between my experience and Extreme Ownership was the idea that you have to make absolutely sure that your entire team understands and accepts the game plan. Without that the whole plan may very well in fact crumble. A specific example was the apartment projects that most of the interns worked on. We were tasked with cold calling apartment complexes and being the first line of attack on attempting to get our self-pay stores inside that venue. Though it wasn’t that easy, without the knowledge of what to say when the other end picked up the phone, we were on an island. Thankfully, Jack Bock instilled within us the knowledge of what to do, and how to do it when that time came.
One theme from Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin that has shone brightly throughout our summer internship is the “greater cause” of TKC/32M. From the very beginning of the program, everyone involved, including executives, told us interns that we would be doing work that would either directly or indirectly contribute to the greater cause of the companies. While all of us interns had trust in the program, it was important to understand why we were working on certain things and truly believe that the work we were doing was meaningful. Throughout the summer, I noticed there were things that were clear to full time employees that did not always understand. This is where a major lesson came into play: ask questions. At first, I was hesitant to ask questions because I was scared that the answer would be obvious. However, asking questions about things to gain clarity is a large part of accountability in the workplace. If you don’t know the purpose of what you are directly working on it is almost impossible to understand how what you’re doing contributes to the greater cause of the company. The same is true when the roles are reversed: it is critical for team leaders to be clear and understood and to never assume that their team is 100% bought in.
“In order to convince and inspire [...] a leader must be a true believer in the mission” - Jocko Willink.
Without everyone on the same page, it is very difficult for everyone to be true believers in the greater cause. The responsibility lies with the leader and the followers alike. It takes courage to be assertive in giving commands, but it also takes courage to ask questions when you are unsure of yourself or the mission. Clarity and understanding lead to belief, and when an entire team believes in the greater cause, as we have learned to do over the summer as TKC/32M interns, that team is poised for success.