Student Spotlight: Adam Brooks

From an early age, agricultural business management senior Adam Brooks knew he wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. A series of internships in the heavy-equipment industry made it possible.

How did you become interested in the Agricultural Business Management program?

I was raised in Johnston County, North Carolina, which even though it’s not very far from Raleigh, it is still a very agriculturally rich and vital part of our state’s economy. I became an active member of FFA in high school, and through the help of my FFA advisors, I decided that Agricultural Business Management at NC State would be the educational path that would best suit me.

NC State has been my dream school since I was a kid. I’m proud to be graduating with a bachelor’s degree from NC State in May.

What influenced you to complete your high school and college internships?

My grandfather worked for Gregory Poole Equipment Company for 36 years, so my interest in heavy equipment began at a very young age. There were many occasions that we would go to the office/shop and look at all of the equipment. I was also very inquisitive about his job and would ask lots of questions about his work. Through these experiences, I determined at an early age that I wanted to pursue a career involving the heavy equipment industry.

As a junior in high school, I became aware of a new program called the Caterpillar Pre-Apprenticeship Program at their manufacturing facility in Clayton, NC. Within this apprenticeship, I was able to complete courses at Johnston Community College in Hydraulics and Pneumatics, Industrial Safety and Critical Thinking.

While working at Caterpillar, I gained the knowledge [of] most of the components required to assemble a small wheel loader. The Pre-Apprenticeship Program sparked my interest to work in the heavy equipment field and allowed me the opportunity to continue further employment beyond high school.

During my college sophomore year, I acquired an internship at Caterpillar with the Assembly Planning and Manufacturing Engineering group where I assisted in projects such as developing training aids for safety/quality risk mitigation, modifying and developing visual instructions used by assembly technicians and collaborating with the logistics team to communicate efficient operational techniques. This internship further developed my critical thinking and problem-solving skills that would also benefit me in my college curriculum.

Based on my experience at Caterpillar, I began searching for other internship opportunities. After speaking with representatives from Gregory Poole Equipment Company at the Southern Farm Show in February of 2018, I acquired information on what would lead to my current internship as a service analyst. Gregory Poole is the designated Caterpillar dealer for eastern North Carolina.

My responsibilities as a service analyst include opening, maintaining and closing work orders for the service operations department. This also involves working closely with the customers and the individual branches across the region to handle billing and invoicing for work orders. As part of the invoicing process, I also review and verify customer accounts, technician time accuracy, machine warranty status, customer credit checks and payment entries.

How have your classes at NC State helped you during your internships?

As part of the Agricultural Business Management curriculum, I’ve gained a better understanding of the accounting and financial management principles and how they’re related to the operations of a business. The courses involving communication and public speaking have allowed me to communicate more effectively with co-workers and customers to ensure a productive work environment and achieve customer satisfaction. Knowledge in the classroom setting has truly helped prepare me for a job in the real business world.

How have your internship experiences helped with your classes?

Through my work experience, there have been certain business scenarios that I’ve been able to share and apply in my classwork. Since I’ve been working in an office environment and dealing with customers on a regular basis, I have a better understanding of how what I’m learning actually relates to business operations. Many occasions in my classes, I have been able to connect a certain business concept with a situation at work.

I think an obvious example would be while we are listening to our CEO in a staff meeting and he mentions how supply and demand in the local and global economy directly affect our forecasted revenue and sales. This is when I’m able to bridge the gap between solely learning these economic principles and actually applying them in the real world.

What do you value about your college experience?

I value the education that I have received at NC State and I understand the importance of it.  The life lessons learned as part of the overall college experience, along with the internships, have pushed me to develop time management skills and be more responsible with school and work deadlines.

I am thankful for the skills and knowledge that I’ve gained from my time at NC State, and I’m glad to know that I will be graduating from a university that has provided me with the skills and knowledge to be successful in the workplace.