I've had some amazing opportunities that have brought me to many different places in the world. In many cases, I've stayed in hostels, or with someone I know. I seek out the most authentic exposure to what life is actually like in any place. I talk to people about their lives. Not only is this incredibly fulfilling and informative, it also tends to be much more affordable!
See where I've been:
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green State University (BGSU) piqued my interest following a campus visit during my senior year of high school. BGSU is rather close to my hometown, which isn't what I was looking for originally. During the visit, though, I was pleasantly surprised with the atmosphere and the brand. I think BGSU has done, and continues to do a spectacular job at positioning their brand to be attractive to prospective students. Needless to say, it worked on me. I received my Bachelor's degree in Business Administration in 2016. Specializing in both Management and International Business, I graduated cum laude with a cumulative GPA of 3.61. See some of the activities I was involved in and awards I received on my resume.
Semester at Sea
Enrolling in Semester at Sea is one of the best decisions I've made in my life to-date. Prior to my Junior year of college, I started thinking about transferring to The Ohio State University simply because I thought the alumni base would be more extensive/beneficial and I thought it would look better on a resume as a result. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I missed the application deadline by the time I decided to move forward with the transfer and a series of events led me to pursue this opportunity instead. "Opportunity" is an understatement. I met incredible people, I went to amazing places, and I had unique exposure into course material and concepts that is impossible to match while confined in a classroom. On top of all that, I received my credits from one of the top public universities in the country at the time: The University of Virginia.
My involvement with randrr started in mid-2016, very early in the company’s existence. I was among some of the very first employees hired into the company. Originally, I was hired as a Marketing Intern. By the end of the summer in 2016, I was offered a full-time position as a Marketing Associate, which I enthusiastically accepted. The randrr team, concept, and doings exposed me to a wealth of valuable experiences and information that could only be found in a startup environment. Through my employment with randrr, I was thrust into various scenarios previously unfamiliar to me and learned how to accomplish many tasks in new and creative ways. My employment with randrr lasted just under a year and the company was closed not long after my departure.
As a result of my employment with randrr, I have gained experience in social media management (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Hootsuite, HubSpot, etc.), graphic design via Adobe Creative Cloud (Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects), website management/creation via CMS (HubSpot, WordPress, light HTML/CSS), market and competitor research, creating presentations to be delivered by C-level executives (PowerPoint), trade show planning and execution, collaboration among various in-house and external teams both on-site and remotely via tools such as HighFive, GoToMeeting, and Zoom to name a few.
randrr also introduced me to the Product Manager function. I was able to participate with the Product team frequently in a number of ways. My market and competitor research was applied in certain stages of product development. I gathered potential customer and user feedback at trade shows nationwide. I participated in Product meetings and workshops and had a direct impact on the product roadmap. I drafted user stories and determined requirements with members of the Product team on occasion. I was also present on nearly all calls between the Product and Design team as they crafted the UI/UX with outsourced design agencies. I seized any and all opportunities I could in order to maximize my exposure to product-related tasks and processes. This is the origin of my admiration for great products, and subsequent great user experiences.
Mission Point Resort
I worked as a Customer Service Intern at Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan during the summer of 2015. This experience exposed me to much of the inner workings involved with hospitality.
Predominantly, my position was "Bell Captain," which is essentially the manager of the bellstand/bellmen at the resort. Some of my responsibilities in that role included facilitating daily reception and distribution of visitors’ luggage and/or equipment, resolving customer complaints in order to maximize satisfaction, and conducting strategic development with interests in maximizing the efficiency of our process.
Aside from Bell Captain I also worked at the front desk as a Front Desk Clerk, I spent a couple nights assisting with security, and I assisted management with some banquets that were held on the premises. I also worked as a bouncer one night at one of the bars downtown during the annual Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac.
The Florida Keys Visitor Center
I have spent a considerable amount of time around the Florida Keys as a result of my family’s ownership of The Florida Keys Visitor Center, which is located in Key Largo, Florida. During the summer of 2013, I spent my time there working with my stepfather on various things. In one role, I was tasked with collecting invoices from area businesses to distribute commissions to our salespeople. Further, I organized revenues and conducted payroll weekly, and I organized sponsor displays within the storefront in order to maximize visual appeal and subsequent customer interest/interaction.
Outside of the visitor center, I gained extensive experience with product/service development. We created a hot sauce in partnership with a family in Fort Lauderdale named Mama Dee’s Keys Disease. Aside from our visitor center, the product was available for sale in numerous storefronts in the Florida Keys and elsewhere in Florida, including Key West, Miami, Hollywood, and Fort Lauderdale. Some of my responsibilities with the product also included: transport of sauce, labeling, bottling, and sourcing of ingredients and bottles for production, and marketing/sales strategy development.
For service development, we worked in partnership with Wayne Mitchell, the former CEO of Segway, to develop a tour vehicle. The vehicle, which became known as the HMS Discovery, was a semi-submersible that would have been the only affordable solution to put tourists underwater without getting them wet. There was space for a pilot in the upper section and for 2 adults and 1 small child in the lower section. The vehicle could be docked like a boat, or it could be driven in and out of the water using attached, powered, rugged wheels. Various issues led to the project coming to a close, though it was operational for a period of time in Key West.
In summary, my experiences in the Florida Keys provided a taste of what life is like as an entrepreneur. As a result of my time there, I have extensive experience in the imperative developmental steps necessary for business/product/service creation and growth.
NickName Sports is a multimedia sports entertainment network, which provides unique perspective through sports talk and articles. The owners came to me with an existing radio show affiliated with ESPN The Ticket and an idea to branch out into a stand-alone brand. From there, I designed the logo and associated brand materials such as fonts/colors and some physical items like business cards. I also designed, developed and continue to manage their website.
“Alek brought it upon himself to share his ideas in regards to helping me establish a brand/network for my sports media content. He not only designed the logo and website from scratch, but has been an integral part in the entire process of creating what we both believe will be a successful multi-media platform. Alek prepared me to grow accustomed to the website building process while continually pitching ideas in order to propel the growth of the website, whether it may pertain to content placement, color scheme, verbiage, or general marketing principles. Alek has been and will continue to be my number one recommendation for those who are seeking web design services.”
Crawford Street Gym
As part of an ownership transition, I was tasked with designing various elements of the Crawford Street Gym brand; most notably, the logo and website. The new owner's primary concerns were simplicity and practicality. The overall goal was to provide a resource that is easily accessible with content that is informative, appealing, and simply consumed. Though it was never an explicit priority, the website was built with my personal favoring of utmost responsiveness to ensure a positive user experience on any device.
“Alek has been involved in all aspects of our marketing. He designed the logo and associated brand materials. He designed various print marketing materials. He also coordinated with a local marketing company to design our facility’s exterior. Alek also designed, developed, and continues to maintain our website. Being a small business focused on self-sufficiency, our goal was to make the brand and website informative, appealing, and practical so that it requires little effort on our part. Alek was able to effectively reach these goals and even incorporated additional aspects, such as Google Advertising and a member login function. In all steps along the way, Alek was very professional and creative. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Alek to anyone looking for web design services.”
Painters' Pottery is a paint your own pottery studio in downtown Findlay, Ohio that has recently reopened after a 9-year hiatus. Having already been an established brand, much of the designs are already established and, therefore, were quick and easy to implement in the web environment. Much like the Crawford Street Gym project, the Painters' Pottery website incorporates a strong favoring of responsiveness to ensure user-friendliness. In addition to web design and development, I also configured and implemented various Google tools, which are listed in the "tools used" below.
Tools Used: Adobe Creative Cloud (Illustrator), WordPress (Pro Theme by theme.co), Spectrum Business Class web hosting, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Google My Business, and others.
The Next Level Performance Training
The Next Level Performance Training is a fitness solution for personal training and sport-specific performance training in the Columbus, Ohio area. The owner/trainer, Ryan Brooks, had some specific intentions for the website in mind in terms of practicality/functionality, which needed to be designed to work with common tools such as Google Suite. Much of the written copy was provided by Ryan, leaving most elements of design and function to my own imagination. The result is an attractive, easily-manipulated website aimed at being as informative as it is interactive and practical. Easily-manipulated is key, as Ryan preferred to not have interact with the website himself due to lack of knowledge. As such, various tools were embedded to make updating information as simple and user-friendly as possible.
“I've been lucky enough to know Alek personally & professionally. As his personal trainer, I learned a lot about his internal drive & motivation to become a better version of himself on the daily! As my personal training business expanded, I've been able to view Alek on a professional level as he created the website for my company. Not only did he build it from the bottom up, he maintains it 24/7 for me. Although our relationship began as client/trainer, Alek's professionalism throughout this process has been top-notch! He is extremely prompt on getting back to me when I have questions/ideas and his follow through is executed on a high level. All that said, Alek's knowledge & expertise in website design is one that I would highly recommend to any individual or company looking to build a website to further promote their business!”
Siferd's Country Carpets
Siferd's Country Carpets desired an online presence beginning with a website. My partner on this project, Kevin Bartchlett, and I determined the client's needs and settled on a purely marketing-purposed website to gain some traction in the northwest Ohio area. A new logo and brand image was designed. The website was designed and optimized to appeal to all device types and sizes.