January 7, 2011
Being a St. Mary’s student opens a world of opportunities. Where else can you learn about car batteries from a chaplain, see a giant-sized “Sodbuster” and enjoy a rare Texas snowball fight?
That’s exactly what 10 Greehey Scholars did on a two-day road trip to Dallas. As part of the program’s required industry site visits, students visited the world headquarters of Interstate Battery System International, Inc. and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
At Interstate Battery, students met a wide array of the company’s leadership team, including the President and CEO. Members of the company’s leadership talked to the students about the usual and expected topics: the company’s history, human resources and product sales, distribution and marketing. But completely unexpected, they also met the corporate chaplain and an intern giving the students insight to Interstate Battery’s faith-based business model and the work environment / corporate culture. On Interstate Battery’s website, they state “Part of what makes Interstate a unique company is its unabashed mission to conduct business in a way that honors God.” The company and its employees are also very involved with various local and international charitable organizations; giving back is important part of Interstate’s mission.
When Greehey Scholars Director Stephanie Ward, Ph.D. learned about Interstate Battery and its Christian business model from Greehey Scholar James Eades, a senior Entrepreneurial Studies major whose father is the Director of Franchise Development at Interstate, she knew it would provide an ideal experience for the students. It would give them an opportunity to see first-hand the best practices of corporate ethics and responsibility in action.
While in Dallas, students also visited the Federal Reserve Bank, and thanks to a rare snow storm, they got a more private and hands-on tour. Most of the businesses had shut down for the day, but the Reserve stayed open. The visit to the Reserve was also unique, mixing banking and art! The Reserve is home to a highly acclaimed art collection of more than one hundred paintings, photographs and sculptures from a diverse group of artists from Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico. Students had their picture taken in front of the flagship piece, Luis Jimenez’s “Sodbuster.” Located in the Reserve’s main lobby, this fiberglass sculpture depicts a farmer and two oxen as a tribute to the spirit of the American West.
Throw in a snowball fight for the students who had never seen snow before, and it was a trip to remember.