Working with Renewable Energy
Senior Finance Major with an Accounting Minor
Hometown: Bourbonnais, Illinois
Bricen Hakeman is currently a senior majoring in finance with a minor in accounting, in the School of Business at Eastern Illinois University. He plans to graduate in May of 2012. Like many college students who are vying for internships, Bricen wanted to find an internship that would provide him with a wide range of experience and on-the-job education. With hard work, he was able to secure an internship with Indeck Energy Services, Inc.
Indeck Energy Services, Inc. specializes in developing renewable and sustainable energy sources. Bricen's internship focused on biomass. Although the title of his internship was Consumer Relations Management (which tied into Management Information Systems), his responsibilities included anything internal and external involving Indeck's newest wood pellet energy source. Wood pellets are formed from many different kinds of wood, both hard and soft. But it is a sustainable energy source. "They don't just go to an area and wipe out an entire forest," he explains. "The company is very selective about which trees are used." Bricen had a large involvement with the upstream supply chain. This would entail more than just producing reports on lumber. He was also faced with guidelines of the BCAP (Biomass Crop Assistance Program), which was a government spending push for biomass. Because the BCAP has since expired, the discounts on lumber were over, which required close monitoring of inventories and operations.
Another part of Bricen's internship involved the marketing and sales of horse bedding, a safe bi-product that results from the production of wood pellets. And unlike many bi-products that result from energy production, the horse bedding produced by Indeck is 100% safe. Bricen states, "It lacks the phenol that comes with pine wood beddings, so it is actually better for horses." Bricen would travel anywhere to promote and sell this safer horse bedding. This encompassed anything from attending trade shows to deciding which magazines would be best to work with for promotional advertising. Bricen was also responsible for creating an Excel spreadsheet to do cost-saving analysis for horse bedding sales. The spreadsheet shows farmers how much they can save by using the horse bedding from Indeck when compared to other competitors. The spreadsheet is still being used today by Indeck.
Bricen's time with the School of Business at EIU greatly helped his integration into Indeck. Bricen attributes his easy transition from student to professional to the instructors and smaller class sizes at EIU. "The smaller classes helped me learn how to build relationships," he said. "And the instructors here are really easy to approach, so I no longer have the fear of asking questions if I don't understand something. It made it easy to have a team mentality, rather than a 'boss' and 'subordinate' relationship when I started at Indeck." These relationships will still be there for Bricen should he choose to return to Indeck after he graduates in May, 2012. He is also considering pursuing a career as a CFA. With his work ethic, both of these options are viable. "My advice to business students here at EIU is to give it 110%. Going into the office early and leaving late is what will move you up in the world."