On June 27, Pella Engraving Company welcomed a group of high school students from the Business Horizons program for an afternoon tour and Q & A session with Jeff Vroom, Bruce Van Wyk, Cory Vande Kieft, and Jarid Purvis, who make up the PEC ownership team.
“It was refreshing to see the excitement and enthusiasm the kids had for this program that provides young adults with a better insight into how the business world works,” said Cory. “We were impressed by the maturity of the kids and really enjoyed getting to know the instructors. We look forward to the opportunity to support this program in years to come.”
Founded in 1984 by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) Foundation, Business Horizons is a week-long summer program dedicated to giving high school students hands-on economic education. Divided into industry teams, 75–100 students from across the state spend a week working on a pitch for a new product that will benefit their team’s industry. The students are lodged at Central College in Pella, where they participate in team-building activities. They also have the opportunity to visit several businesses in Marion County. This year, Pella Engraving was proud to be included on the visit schedule.
“We immediately felt welcomed by Jeff, Cory, Bruce, and Jarid, who were phenomenal interacting with the students,” said Gina Vitiritto-Robinson, who has been volunteering with Business Horizons for seven years. “I could tell the company culture is very supportive and family-oriented, and that they encourage innovation.”
After the visit, Jeff and Cory met up with the students again at the annual Business Horizons trade show, which took place at the college. Each industry team presented its pitch to a panel of investors and entrepreneurs.
“I was very impressed when Jeff and Cory showed up to the trade show to support the students with their product,” said Gina. “It really showed how much they care!”
“Each year, it is amazing to watch the transformation of students in such a short period of time,” added ABI Foundation Vice President of Programs Kay Neumann-Thomas. “Students leave with a newfound appreciation of Iowa businesses, the value of teamwork and communication, the entrepreneurial spirit, critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills, and more. They are definitely more prepared with knowledge desired in today’s workforce.”