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York College grad parlays classroom experience, internship into job at Frito Lay

November 26, 2018
Alonzo Abraham '16, engineering management

Most people enjoying Doritos and Cheetos give no thought to how those tasty munchies are made.

York College of Pennsylvania grad Alonzo Abraham isn’t one of those people.

Alonzo spends his days thinking of how to make Frito Lay products more efficiently, using what he learned during his internship there — an internship York College helped him secure.

“Without my internship,” he says, “I would not have been as prepared for the workforce as I am.”

Combining passions

Alonzo originally intended to major in Mechanical Engineering when he got to college.

During his first semester, though, he discovered Engineering Management in the Graham School of Business.

It was the best of both worlds.

“Engineering gives you hands-on experience, learning how equipment works, how pieces of equipment work together,” he says. “Management classes get into problem solving. They are building problem-solvers.”

Beyond the classroom, the Graham School of Business helps students create vital connections in the business world.

“In one class, you actually go out and work with a business,” he says. “Between this and all the job fairs, York College does a good job in getting employers interested in York College students.”

He also credits the Career Center on campus for totally reconstructing his resume, which he feels helped greatly in landing the Frito Lay position.

Setting him up to succeed

Attending a company-run problem solving event during his internship, Alonzo realized his professors helped prepare him for his career.

“The event covered a Japanese problem-solving method called lean six sigma kaizen,” he recalls. “This is (Frito Lay parent company) PepsiCo’s go-to method of problem solving.”

Alonzo already knew much of what was presented because Operations Management professor Dr. Mohammed Raja, who heads the supply chain management department, taught this problem-solving philosophy in class.

Dr. David Greisler, Alonzo says, also proved vital as an adviser during his internship in learning the lean six principles.

Seamless transition

During the summer of 2016, Alonzo was offered the chance to step in as supply chain leader.

“This allowed me to live what I would be doing if I worked there full time,” he says.

That’s exactly what happened. Alonzo is now a maintenance supply chain leader, with duties including limiting the amount of equipment downtime, focusing on work order completion, and preventive maintenance completion.

“With my internships, I got to learn the equipment and how the process works. You must know the process first to execute your project,” Alonzo explains. “I have to understand the process from start to finish so I can work with the operators, ask questions, notice when something is wrong, know how to troubleshoot, and offer different ideas.”

Ready for the future

Supply chain is the wave of the future, Alonzo says. You must optimize the supply chain to save money internally versus raising the price of the product.

York College not only prepared him for that challenge — it set him up for success after, too.

“What the Graham School of Business teaches you is directly applicable to what you do on a daily basis in the real world,” Alonzo says. “I feel York College graduates can compete with grads from places like Penn State and Ohio State.”

Learn more about York College's engineering management program and supply chain operations management program.

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