Randell Rainey - An Intern Building the Blocks to Success

November 4, 2011
I caught up with Randell Rainey, a 21 year old senior student at University of Central Florida, between classes and asked him to tell me about his experience as an intern at Progress Energy Florida. Randell, a mechanical engineering major, explained that while growing up in Miami, most of his cousins and the neighborhood kids were interested in sports careers. He on the other hand liked tinkering with things like Legos or anything that could be taken apart and put back together, and the more complex, the better. His mother was critical in cultivating his self-discipline and thirst for knowledge, and he discovered in middle school that mechanical engineering was the career choice for him. He applied for and was accepted into a high school that offered specialties in particular areas including engineering. In his junior year in high school, while applying for colleges and feverishly searching for any and all available scholarships, his advisor told him about the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) scholarship. He applied and was later contacted by FL AABE Scholarship Chair Mikle Gordon with news that he had won. Mikle later reached out to him and sought his participation in the FL AABE Youth Forum—which he gladly accepted. He began building a relationship with AABE and Progress Energy through Mikle and Ray DeSouza (Gen Mgr-Trans Maint) who became his mentor. Ray told him about the internship opportunity and Randell completed the online application. He received invaluable advice from his mentor on improving his resume and preparing for the internship interview and shared that advice with his peers as he found it much more useful than the on-campus classes on resumes and interviewing. During his internship this summer at Progress Energy, he focused on electrical engineering which was not his forte, but it provided another layer of insight into elements of the transmission and distribution world, and most importantly a lens into the corporate and organizational culture of a large utility. Larry Bonner (Mgr-Distr Ops) did an exceptional job of providing Randell an experience that was challenging, edifying, and rewarding. Ray talked to him about the importance of pursuing a career with a company that offers qualities that align with one’s personal values – so that one would always feel good about getting up and going to work. Randell also realized that relationships are critical to one’s career – as is relentless pursuit of one’s goals. If he had not applied for the AABE scholarship, he might never have discovered his interest in the electric utility industry. The advice he offers to fellow students is to never let perceived obstacles like race, background, or status stand in your way. The opportunities are out there. It is up to you go out and get them and to use each step as a building block to success. He also says to be very careful about your association. Friends and associates can mold your future so choose them wisely. Randell explained he learned things at Progress Energy that simply cannot be learned in a classroom. There is only so much research one can do about a company or a career. We give special thanks to Randell, AABE, and dedicated Progress Energy employees and management for contributing to these initiatives that make our company a better place to work. - A. Harley, Supplier Diversity Coordinator

Malcolm Barnes

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