Port Huron company keeps internships going amid pandemic
By JEREMY ERVIN
AP Member Exchange
PORT HURON — Just beyond the bustle of the main shop floor of P.J. Wallbank Springs in Port Huron, Adam Tuckey, a student at Western Michigan University, sat in a room with other interns. He’s working on a project to improve the efficiency of workstations at the shop. He’s thinking of reorganizing bins used by workers.
“The way it’s organized right now, there’s a big bin of stampings on the floor, and the workers turn around and walk over the big bin, fill up a smaller bin, walk back over and put the stampings onto the springs to make the part,” he said. “So what I’m doing is we’re thinking of reorganizing the way they do that so they don’t have to waste time walking back and forth.”
The Times Herald of Port Huron reports that P.J. Wallbank Springs is offering internships as the company works through the coronavirus pandemic.
Akhil Sabhapathi, a graduate from the University of Michigan Dearborn, is looking at changing design requirements and their implementation.
“I do have some experience with design and release, so I just want to learn more about it,” Sabhapathi said.
The program came about as many university students and graduates saw their summer plans complicated by the pandemic, engineering leader Karen Tadd said.
“As we started looking, we saw so many of them that no longer had internships to go to,” Tadd said.
She said they were interested in applicants who are self-driven.
“We want them to be comfortable going out and talking to people on the floor and diving into problems and not being told every single little thing that you need to do,” Tadd said.
No specific field of engineering was required for students to apply. The company received a lot of applications from students in biomedical and aerospace fields, Tadd said.
P.J. Wallbank Springs has about 40 different projects the interns can chose from, and each intern has multiple projects to work on with their peers, Tadd said. This could give the students the chance to try different fields and as they move forward through their education and into their careers.
“Even if they only stay here for the internship and they go off and do go somewhere else and do great things other places, that’s great,” special projects manager Kevin Boyea said.
The internships are paid and full time. The current round of internships are closed but future opportunities are being discussed.