An Invaluable Experience

Drew BlakeToday officially marks the end of ServiceMaster’s summer internship program. If I could choose one word to describe the experience, (a monumental task, as I am an English major), I would use the word “invaluable.”

I say this because we got to be a part of a company in the midst of the most drastic of changes. We got to be here when a new CEO took over, and it was announced that American Home Shield would be spun off as its own company. On top of all that, we got to see the progress and the evolution of the future headquarters in downtown Memphis. We got to see Ground Floor, the innovation center, the very same day that it opened.

This made for a unique internship, to say the least. I truly feel blessed to have been a part of this company during all these changes. It was an experience that cannot be planned, simulated, or replicated; therefore, it was invaluable.

Thank you again to everyone at ServiceMaster who has made my internship invaluable. On behalf of all of the interns, I’d like to express our most sincere gratitude. Our deepest thanks especially to Amy Moen.

-Drew Blake, Editor

Aly’s First Business Trip

The highlight of my internship this summer was definitely my first business trip with Jeramie Simmons. We were headed out to California to work with ServiceMaster’s recent partner, Minor League Baseball. This partnership connects the local ServiceMaster network together at their local MiLB stadiums.

I had been working on tasks such as organizing invite lists, brochures and food for the suites from the office for Jeramie all summer. This being said, I was excited to see the implementation of what I had been working on for the past 10 weeks.

I attended and worked the Sacramento game first, along with Jeramie and Jay Robinson. During this game I was able to shadow Jay and help out with social media and interviews. I observed as Jay interviewed consumers as well as the ServiceMaster network. After watching Jay on the first three interviews, I was able to conduct the last interview myself. I had a list of questions as a reference, but came up with follow up questions when necessary, as Jay did.

At both the Sacramento and Fresno games, I was also tasked with social media. Taking a picture and posting it to Facebook for ServiceMaster is a lot more laborious than posting to your own Instagram. I needed to think about the company when snapping each and every picture. I made sure there were never any beer cans in the shot and that I knew who everyone was by name and brand so that I would be able to mention them later on in a caption or post, if need be.

Although I was assigned with social media and interviewing, I was also constantly networking with the local ServiceMaster network throughout the duration of the game. I was delighted to engage with the people who attended the games and find out what brand they worked for, what their daily jobs consisted of and what they thought of the partnership. I made some connections myself, and collected a few business cards.

On another note, I had never been to California before and was excited to take in all that Sacramento and Fresno had to offer during my free time, until I hopped in the Lyft.

Cyrus was your typical California “dude”. He had the classic man bun and “surfer accent.” He asked what we were doing in Sacramento and we proceeded to explain how we were off to Fresno the next day. He laughed and responded with, “If you guys took this trip to visit the worst places in California, you’ve succeeded.” Cyrus clearly had very strong thoughts on Sacramento and Fresno and did not hesitate to speak up.

After Cyrus expressed his view, I naturally had to explore and see for myself. Contrary to Cyrus’s opinion, Sacramento was impressive. I walked to the Capitol, which was brilliant, and then proceeded to a place referred to as “Old Sac” by many Californians. Old Sacramento offered numerous shops, eateries and museums to tourists. Although Fresno did not have as much to offer, I had my first In-N-Out experience here. Being a first timer, there was no other option; I had to ask for a souvenir. (The souvenir being a hat). The burger was all that I imagined it would be and more.

Aside from all the buzz I heard from Cyrus about inland California, Sacramento and Fresno ended up exceeding my expectations. The experiences I had working at the games will benefit me in my future endeavors. I would have to say my first business trip was a success and I can’t wait for the next one!

-Aly DePalma

Zach’s Summer in Memphis

Zachary DyllaFor those who don’t know my manager, Mike Vazeii has kept me plenty busy all summer. I was in charge of Terminix Commercial’s monthly email and newsletter, worked on the design of several advertisements and was pretty much involved in every meeting, phone call and task Mike worked on. Mike has told me that his internship is all-encompassing, and is just as much about real world experience as it is real work experience. I have, however, had two experiences that are outside the typical summer intern “work description.”

Unlike a lot of interns, I wasn’t given one major project to work on throughout the summer. To fix this issue, Mike gave me a list of about 30 different lunch places to try before leaving Memphis. To expand on the project, I put the list into an excel document, and after creating a few formulas, had my own rating system for each restaurant. As of now, Central BBQ, Corky’s, Elwood’s Shack, and The Second Line are among those on the leaderboard. As the summer ends, I still have 5 places on my list and not very many days to get to them, so I am having to go into maximum overdrive to complete the list.

My second experience was even more compelling. There were a few instances this summer where Mike would go out of town, and needed someone to dog sit for him. Knowing his house has a pool, and that it is not a crowded apartment with 5 other guys, I eagerly volunteered to take care of his dog, the one catch being: Mike’s house is sorta, kinda, definitely haunted. I’ll spare any details, aside from the fact that Mike did not learn his house was haunted until the day he closed on the house. He’s had a number of paranormal events happen since he’s lived there, and has somehow found a way to get used to it. Over the summer I’ve seen orbs of light shoot across the room, heard voices and have felt random cold chills throughout the house. Other interns have told me they’ve witnessed even creepier things. We’ve formulated a few different theories over the summer:

  1. The house is haunted
  2. You cannot stay on the far side of the house alone at night
  3. The spirit(s) in his house do not seem to be super friendly
  4. All of the statues in his backyard need to go pronto

A lot of people think I’m crazy for staying there, but it’s an experience. That’s what an internship is all about.

-Zach Dylla

Intern Profile: Tanner Felbinger, Bug Identification Expert

The following article was posted on ServiceMaster Connect a few weeks ago, but we just wanted to share it again here to show the interesting work Tanner is doing this summer. Enjoy!

Tanner Felbinger, sophomore at the University of Florida, has a unique internship roll this summer: studying and identifying insects for the Terminix technical department. The urgent requests for identification usually come in the form of a blurry snapshot posted to Facebook, but occasionally an old soul will actually capture the specimen in an envelope and use snail mail to deliver (no word if anyone has ever actually mailed a snail using snail mail).

“A customer sent some beetles in an envelope the other day,” Tanner says. “Those were tough to identify, though. Because they were crushed.”

Tanner, an entomology major, started in early June but already has numerous ID’s under her belt–things like powderpost beetles (Lyctinae) and brown house spiders (Steatoda grossa). Her manager this summer, Doug Webb, technical service manager, is the perfect mentor–he’s an expert on wood destroying insects and has been instrumental in developing company-wide training programs in his 34 years with the company.

“I got involved in entomology because I love bugs and want to learn more about them, so I think that’s my best path,” said Tanner. “Most likely I’ll go to grad school and then research new insects and explore the potential of ones we already know about. Pest management is super interesting and a good option to explore too!”

Leading In Memphis

7 weeks down and 3 to go. At this point, most of the Interns are about as busy as they can get. Our projects are beginning to have a light at the end of the tunnel, yet none of them have started to slow down. The weekly “lunch and learns” and “New Memphis Institute” meetings are a nice break from the weekly rhythms we’ve become accustomed to. We get to slow down, get some food, strike up conversations with the other interns we haven’t seen for a few weeks, and take time listen to corporate and civic leaders about career development.

The New Memphis Institute event “Leading in Memphis” had many interesting stories to listen to, plus a free breakfast! The panel told of climbing their way up the corporate ladder and shared stories about creating successful careers. Some panelists told us about how they are marshaling resources against urban blight, having just recently moved to Memphis. Our very own Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Marvin Davis, answered questions about career development and marketing strategies, and gave advice for the future! We all had a great time.

Insight is a valuable thing. It’s nice to work for a company who values my experience and gives me the tools to gain insight into what I want my future to look like.


-Aaron Allred

901ntern Volunteer Day

On Friday, June 30, we got the opportunity to participate in 901ntern Volunteer Day, along with interns from FedEx, AutoZone, First Tennessee, and International Paper. We got to work on service projects with the American Red Cross, The Carpenter’s House, Clean Memphis, MIFA, Urban Bicycle Food Ministry and the USO. Here are a few insights from the experience:

Kyle Khan“The coolest part of 901ntern day was being able to see all the companies come together and achieve something special, not only for the Memphis community, but also for troops thousands of miles away. This was super easy to see on the USO toiletry packing line where interns with different colored company t-shirts were mixed in together all working towards one goal. The event was an awesome opportunity to get out of the office and meet people from other companies I might not have had the chance to encounter otherwise.” –Kyle Khan


Zach Abdo

“What I really enjoyed about the 901ntern Day was how it brought together people from varying positions in the companies through service. With everyone wearing their “Better Together” service shirts, it seemed as though there was a more familial, united sentiment among all of us –it was a sentiment that put position and rank to the side for a good cause.” –Zach Abdo



Alex Compton“One of the things I have loved the most about Memphis so far is how much they value young people and young talent in and around the city. The 901ntern Day was a perfect example of this, as you could see how much the city appreciated the work of the corporations that call Memphis home. Getting to make a difference in the community surrounded by other young professionals in different industries was certainly a great feeling, and I’m glad we got to experience it in our equity blue shirts!” –Alex Compton


Grace Ingram“There is truly nothing like walking into a room and seeing 300+ other students who are your age and are attempting to achieve the same things in life as you are. Add in the fact that you’re being given the opportunity to give back to the city that all of you are calling home for the summer and you get a once and a lifetime experience. The sense of community and togetherness was overwhelming.” –Grace Ingram

Life as an Intern

Interning with ServiceMaster has been so much more than the “coffee run” internships we’re all afraid of. Even in my first 3 weeks here, I’ve been able to contribute to the company in a way that will hopefully have a lasting impact. My opinions are valued, my voice is heard, and my work matters.

One of the first projects my manager gave me was a direct request from the Chief Human Resources Officer. I was asked to create sample career maps for some of our current employees. The graphics I created will be used in reports and papers sent out by the CHRO, and it felt great to know that my manager trusted me enough to hand me the reins so early on.

This internship has also given me the opportunity to meet amazing people I couldn’t have met any other way. Since I’m from Florida, I’m staying in an apartment with three other interns. We’ve done all of the touristy Memphis activities, cooked meals together, and bonded over binge-watching Riverdale. We’ve already made plans to visit each other when school starts up again!
-Laura Blank