Above, ATS CEO Jeff Owens ’87 (Beta Theta Pi) speaks to Westminster students at the company’s headquarters in Peoria, Illinois.
On February 2-3, nine Westminster students visited Advanced Technology Services Inc. (ATS) in Peoria, Illinois, to tour the facility, learn about the company and interview for full-time jobs and internships. ATS CEO Jeff Owens ’87 sponsored the trip, which included several activities that allowed students to get to know the business of ATS as well as meet members of his management team.
“This was a terrific trip that allowed students to understand the company culture, business and hiring practices of a major company,” says Meg Langland, director of Westminster’s Center for Career Development, who accompanied the students to Peoria.
Founded in 1985, ATS is a factory maintenance and IT services company that employs more than 3,000 people in the U.S., Mexico and United Kingdom. Owens joined the company in 1988 and was named CEO in 2015. A rapidly growing business, ATS has helped some of the biggest brands in the world improve their operations.
“The CEO, Jeff Owens, mentioned sacrifice, and I got a lot out of his story,” Jacob Money ’19 says of the ATS trip. “He reinforced the idea that good things will come when you make a decision for the right reason and do not focus on the money. His story of success showed us just what he was talking about and how it is a reality.”
After being hosted to a dinner with the ATS team in Peoria on their first night, the students attended the company’s weekly all-staff meeting at 7:30 the next morning, where they watched a presentation by the ATS Sales Department. They heard from Owens and Eric Martin ’05 about their career pathways at ATS, as well as from intern Alyssa Johnson ’17, who will begin working full time as an ATS marketing assistant after graduation.
For Dan McElroy ’17, the presentations were helpful in emphasizing the importance of seizing the moment.
“One thing that I took away was that you may not know what you are going to do yet, but you should always jump on opportunities because they can lead to bigger opportunities in the future,” he says.
Following the alumni talks, students were interviewed by HR staff for internships or full-time positions and also toured the facility.
“They all did a fantastic job,” says Jayson Algas, ATS business manager, about the student interviews. “Kudos to Meg and the rest of the [staff] faculty members. I was very impressed by how passionate and driven they were.”
Sponsored by Owens and the Center for Career Development, this trip was a crucial first step in building a stronger partnership between Westminster and ATS.
“It was a pleasure meeting Meg and the students as well,” says Chris Bakos, director of recruiting at ATS. “We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Westminster College.”