McCandless, who started his own business earlier this year, is giving marketing students the experience they need to obtain summer internships.
McCandless started the McCandless Marketing Group in mid-January. The business has done projects for such companies as Nittanyconnect.com and many other small businesses that are trying to get off of the ground.
McCandless got the idea for the company when he was looking for employment in State College. He knew he wanted to do something relevant to his career.
The following day, McCandless went to Penn State Innovation Park and began knocking on doors. Innovation Park is home to new organizations, which are aimed toward technology, biotech and dot com companies that are all less than three years old.
"It was really intimidating -- a long hallway with hundreds of doors that looked exactly the same," McCandless said.
He found what he was looking for when he was directed to Dave Tyler, vice president of industry and economic development at Innovation Park. Tyler told McCandless he had been looking for someone who was willing to find interns for companies at Innovation Park.
McCandless realized he needed to scramble to get a group of clients together to do the work.
"I went to a meeting of the Penn State Marketing Association, the largest student marketing association in the country, to look for potential interns," he said.
McCandless held interviews and narrowed the group to eight workers with whom he formed his company.
"I couldn't ask for eight greater people than who I have right now," he said.
Kelly Gedeon (junior-marketing) got involved with the business through PSMA. "He came to speak at one of our meetings," she said. "I used James as a reference, spoke about my activities with the group, and hopefully I am going to get an internship."
Since then, McCandless has officially registered with State College as a business, and his company is growing quickly. The interns have worked on business plan analyses, project proposals and administered surveys.
McCandless said he is still looking for more help.
He hopes that a month from now, the company will have its own office in Innovation Park and the business will grow to be big enough to make money. So far, McCandless said the company has only made marginal profits.
"There are a lot of job opportunities at Innovation Park," McCandless said. "We are trying to take advantage of these opportunities."
Dana Wise (junior-marketing) is another intern who has gotten involved through PSMA. She hopes to gain experience while working for the company and add the activity to her resume.
"It gives us great experience, something that we all need as we move further in our careers," Wise said.
"Through this program, everyone wins. My interns get experience, I get money and these companies get off the ground," McCandless said.(c) 2001 Daily Collegian via U-WIRE
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