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The job podcast for young people.
A Real Piece of Work: The Job Podcast for Young People features real people sharing real stories on how they found their passion and navigated their path to career success. Hosts Matt Rebro and Joy Dodson dig into personal and professional choices that led each featured guest to where they are today. The podcast introduces teens to careers they may or may not be familiar with and provides tips on finding the right career for them. Check out the series wherever you listen to podcasts.
Thank you, Melissa Pepper, for previously hosting the podcast!
Or in this case, hear all about it on this episode of A Real Piece of Work. Join Matt and Joy as they explore this fascinating career in the news world. David Robbins Jr. is a page designer at The Washington Post, designing the sports and A-sections (State and National Politics, Finance and World sections). Do you love writing? Have you ever wondered what a career in page designing would be like? Tune in and listen to David’s advice in this podcast; DREAM BIG, stay connected and don’t forget about that Linked In page.
Are you letting the “things not happening NOW” take the mojo out of your dream? How do you know when to take your musical passion or hobby and turn it into your career? Drum roll, please… Matt and Joy connect with Tim Very, drummer & songwriter of the American indie rock band, Manchester Orchestra on this episode of A Real Piece of Work. Tim dives into the challenges and perks of being a professional musician. Are you a creature of habit? Can you motivate yourself? Do you dream of being on the road touring? Listen and learn about life as a drummer and don’t forget to add The Gold, Tim’s favorite song, to your playlist.
Don’t rule anything out. This episode of A Real Piece of Work is a must listen to for anyone exploring the next steps on their career journey. She’s a carpenter; what is your super power? Along her career journey Cathy held titles of personal trainer, police officer and phlebotomist before she discovered her skills and passion in an industry she wasn’t all too familiar with. Listen to a vibrant carpenter apprentice (also featured in “The Dirt” construction publication) boast about the day to day excitement of a new career that she couldn’t be happier or more proud to have found. Have you tried out all of the tools in YOUR toolbox? The student question on this episode comes from a curious Pleasant Valley student, Kai. As a leader in industry in the Quad Cities, St. Louis and Kansas City area, Russell continues to set a growth foundation for their people and community; providing the space for women to explore careers in all functional areas, including the predominately male world of construction. Because of people focused leadership and companies such as Russell, individuals like Cathy are being given the wings to soar.
On this episode of A Real Piece of Work, Matt and Joy connect with Jenny Foss, self-employed and self-titled, Job Search Strategist and Founder/CEO of jobjenny.com. Listen as Jenny talks about the path she took that led her to becoming an entrepreneur, and how it’s important to always follow your passion, but make sure you have the skills to back it up. If you’re thinking about starting your job search soon, this is the podcast to listen to! Jenny gives tips of how to create a great resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile when you’re just starting out, and advises to go beyond the obvious when searching for your dream career. The Junior Achievement student question is provided by Claire from Pleasant Valley High School.
Join Matt and Melissa for this episode of A Real Piece of Work as they go on site to John Deere Davenport Works to speak with James Hotchkiss, Heath Palmer, and Abby Parsons about careers in manufacturing. If you have entertained the idea of going into the manufacturing industry, specifically welding, this podcast is for you! Hear the group talk about the High School Registered Apprenticeship Program, how you can get involved, and the immense benefits of a local manufacturing program such as this. They discuss the skills you will learn throughout the program, what educators can do to help students prepare for career success, and what day to day life looks like in the manufacturing industry. The group answers questions from educators, students, and industry professionals.
On this episode of A Real Piece of Work, Matt and Joy are joined by Jenny Haag, Founder and President at RISE Design Build Integration. Jenny started her career with the Minnesota Vikings and through her many positions there, she was inspired to start her own business focused on venue construction for sports teams. She tells us some tips and tricks regarding what it takes to be a female in male-dominated industries. Jenny believes that with teamwork and strong relationships, you can achieve anything. The Junior Achievement student question comes from Josie from Wahlert Catholic High School.
On this episode of A Real Piece of Work, Matt & Joy talk with Davis Addy, Director of Technology at Chick-fil-A Corporate in Atlanta, GA. Growing up building computers for fun, Davis knew technology was something that interested him. Now working in the supply chain for Chick-fil-A, Davis shares the role he plays in getting inventory to restaurants. When you go to your favorite restaurant do you think about the work that goes on behind the scenes to get the cups, paper, etc. to the store? Hear all about it along with other careers at Chick-fil-A, how much money you can make, and more. The Junior Achievement student question comes from Joy’s son, Lance, from Pleasant Valley Junior High.
On this episode of A Real Piece of Work, Matt & Joy speak with Alex Stuedemann, Director of Golf Course Maintenance Operations at TPC Deere Run. Alex thought he wanted to go into engineering because he enjoyed math and science, but with the guidance of his parents and college president, he realized he didn’t have a passion for it. Instead he knew he loved his job at the golf course and decided to explore a college program in horticulture. Alex ended up loving the program and found a career he is passionate about. The Junior Achievement student question comes from Isaac from Seton Catholic. Isaac is a student who hopes to take his career out on the golf course someday.
It only seems fitting to explore a unique local career that has such a tremendous impact within our community. Join Matt & Joy on this episode of A Real Piece of Work as they dive behind the scenes with Birdies for Charity Director, Micaela Booth. Did you know, Junior Achievement of the Heartland has been charity #2 with Birdies for Charity since the start?! Micaela’s inspiring advice of looking beyond the price tag may be a highlight of this episode, but listen in to hear about the skills and career path that got Micaela into this unique Quad Cities job. The Junior Achievement student question comes from Grace from Davenport West High School.
Join Matt & Joy for this episode of A Real Piece of Work as they speak with Mandi Dolson and Nic Hockenberry, both Directors of Workforce Solutions at Greater Dubuque Development. Mandi and Nic discuss how their career paths changed along the way, but led them to the careers they now love. They give advice on things they wish they had done as a high school and college student to help them on their career paths, and discuss how important it is to establish connections along the way. The Junior Achievement student question comes from Lizzie from Wahlert Catholic High School.
On this episode of A Real Piece of Work, Matt & Joy talk with three ImpactLife employees. Pete Lux, Vice President Donor and Patient Services, Tara Dunahoo, Vice President Technical Services, and Tina Wieland, Manager of Donor Services share where they came from and how they got to be where they are today. They also discuss different roles and duties at ImpactLife. You will also hear one thing they all love about their jobs and one thing they wish they could change. The Junior Achievement student question is provided by Makenzie Iams from United Township High School.
Join Matt and Joy for a very inspiring and thought provoking episode of A Real Piece of Work, as they chat with Megen DiSanto, who works in global brand trust communications at McDonald’s. Megen talks about the path she took to get to where she is in the corporate sustainability world, and how many of the jobs she previously held she felt underqualified for. She talks about the importance of having confidence in trying new career paths and how your attitude toward a position can often be much more impactful than what’s on your resume. The Junior Achievement student question comes from Ella at Bettendorf High School who asks Megen her tips on Marketing.
Join Matt and Joy for this episode of A Real Piece of Work as they speak with Allen Wright, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Hansaloy. Hansaloy may not be a company you’ve heard of, but it’s definitely a company you benefit from every day. They are the leading global manufacturer of bread slicing blades; founded and operated right here in Davenport, IA. Allen, a graduate of Pleasant Valley High School talks about how he started at the company in high school and is still there today, and most importantly, why. The Junior Achievement student question is provided by Abby from Pleasant Valley High School.
Meet Silvia Malaman, site director at Bayer. On this episode of A Real Piece of Work, Matt and Joy talk to Silvia about how she moved to Muscatine, Iowa just one year ago to put her chemical engineering degree to action in the agriculture industry. Silvia also shares the importance of a healthy work-life balance and to make sure you love what you do (most days) while also ensuring you never stop learning! She also talks about the different career opportunities and benefits of working for an international ag company such as Bayer. The Junior Achievement student question is provided by Silvia’s daughter, Ana, from Muscatine High School.
Matt and Joy’s next guest, John Lohman, never thought he’d be a journalist and is now the founder and publisher of two publications including the Quad Cities Regional Business Journal. On this episode of A Real Piece of Work, John shares the path he took that led him to where he is today, and how getting fired early in his career actually gave him the motivation to become an entrepreneur. John also talks about the different journalism careers available, the skills you need for those positions, and the benefits of working in journalism. The Junior Achievement student question is from Isabel at Central DeWitt High School.
On this episode of A Real Piece of Work, Matt and Joy connect with Arthur Harrison, Sr. Operations Manager at Amazon. Listen as Arthur talks about starting at Amazon as a part-time seasonal employee and in just 5 years working his way to the position he holds now. He also outlines other career opportunities within the company and the benefits of working there. Arthur talks about the culture at Amazon and how important that is when choosing an organization to work for. The Junior Achievement student question is provided by Hannah from Central DeWitt High School.
Matt and Melissa’s next guest, Alana Carroll, is a Senior Manager at Deloitte Tax, LLP. Alana works with businesses to make sure they have everything they need to file tax returns. Alana took her first accounting class as a junior in high school and from that point on knew she wanted to work in the world of tax and accounting. On this episode of A Real Piece of Work, Alana discusses the difference of public and private accounting and the different job duties of each. She talks about her daily tasks, hours, work benefits, and salary ranges in the accounting field. The Junior Achievement student question comes from Lexi Cooper from Central DeWitt High School.
Meet McKenna Haase – Sprint Car Driver, entrepreneur, American Ninja Warrior contestant, and mentor. On the first Live episode of A Real Piece of Work, Matt and Melissa sit down with McKenna at Business Horizons where students asked her questions about how she got where she is today, what her business model is like, how she handles marketing, and some of the biggest struggles she’s faced. It’s amazing to hear all she has accomplished by the age of 24, and the life and business lessons she’s learned along the way. By the end of this podcast, you too will be inspired to chase your dreams!
Join Matt and Melissa for this episode of A Real Piece of Work as they speak with Benjamin Leischner, A.A.E., Executive Director of the Quad Cities International Airport. Ben talks about how he thought he wanted to be a pilot and quickly discovered his passion for engaging with the community instead. Ben describes different jobs at an airport and in the aviation field in general. He goes into the different duties of those jobs, and the ups and downs that go along with them. The Junior Achievement student question is provided by Allison Gause from Pleasant Valley High School. Ben’s answer highlights how there’s not always only one pathway to get to where you want to be.
Meet Sarah Garthaus, Director of Virtual Design at IMEG Corp. On this episode of A Real Piece of Work, Matt and Melissa talk to Sarah about the winding path she took to find her dream job in engineering, and how it’s okay to shift career paths and take risks to find the job you really want. Sarah also shares tips to help students who are interested in a manufacturing design career get started. The Junior Achievement student question is provided by Rebekah VanHoe from Alleman Catholic High School.
On this episode of A Real Piece of Work, Matt and Melissa connect with Tom Terronez, CEO of Medix Dental and Terrostar. Tom is a true entrepreneur, starting his first business during high school and growing from there. Tom shares his passion for IT and working with clients. When asked what drives him, he shares how he loves to see the industry grow and constantly strives for the next best thing. The Junior Achievement student question is provided by Kody Weininger from North Scott High School.
Join Matt and Melissa for this episode of A Real Piece of Work as they speak with Katie Castillo-Wilson, Founder and CEO of TapOnIt, about taking a leap of faith to become a successful entrepreneur and what led her to where she is today. Katie saw a need in the community to connect consumers to local businesses and left a good job to start a tech business at her kitchen table with no IT savvy, but a go-getter attitude. She has now grown that company in over 40 markets, raised over $5 million, and has reached hundreds of thousands of people. The Junior Achievement student question is from Payten Rascher, Pleasant Valley High School.
Matt and Melissa’s next guest, Garry Young, grew up in the Bay Area when the internet was just taking off. Now he works for Google and helps businesses move to the Cloud. What does that mean exactly? He’ll share what his day to day workload looks like, what exactly it means to work in the cloud, and what kind of businesses he works with. On this episode of A Real Piece of Work, Garry shares his tips of how to get hired by a company like Google, and what he wishes he would have known when he was 18 to help with his current success. The Junior Achievement student question is from Joe Drahozal, North Scott High School.
Brandon Nickerson shares his experience as a Registered Nurse in the Neurology/Oncology Unit at Genesis Health System. Getting his Associates Degree in Nursing at Blackhawk College in 2009, Brandon has built a successful career in helping others during their most difficult times. Receiving multiple awards in recognition of his work, Brandon shares the real benefits of his job. Join Matt and Melissa for this episode of A Real Piece of Work. The Junior Achievement student question is provided by Paige Odefey from Pleasant Valley High School. A special thank you to The Moline Foundation for connecting us with Brandon.
On this episode of A Real Piece of Work, Matt and Melissa connect with Kyle Gripp, Alderman At-Large for the City of Davenport, Iowa. As a teenager, Kyle recognized his passion for his hometown and set a goal to serve on the city council. He shares the pros and cons of being an elected official and the importance of building relationships to help others. The Junior Achievement student question is provided by Diamond from Davenport Central High School. Kyle’s response emphasizes the importance of career and technical programs in supporting the city’s growth.
Brian Golinvaux, President and Co-Founder of Lillie’s Q, shares how he left his corporate job to become an entrepreneur. What started out as a side gig in supporting a friend with his restaurant endeavor has now become his own personal passion in building a BBQ-licious brand. Providing product in 14,000 stores nationwide, Brian shares his entrepreneurial journey with Matt and Melissa during this episode of A Real Piece of Work. The Junior Achievement student question is provided by Jessica Lye, Assumption High School.
In this episode of A Real Piece of Work, Matt and Melissa talk with Dr. Roberto Moreno with Gentle Family Dentistry to learn more about the dentistry field. Gentle Family Dentistry is committed to providing the latest and most comfortable treatments for dental care. Hear how Dr. Moreno got his start in dentistry, what skills are needed to be successful in the field, and the difference between a corporate dentist office and a private practice. The Junior Achievement student question for this episode is provided by Ava Coussens, Rock Island High School. Thank you to the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for helping us make this connection.
Kristin Hart identified her future career through her love of reading criminal novels. Matt and Melissa connect with Hart, a Criminalist with the Iowa Department of Public Safety, in this episode of A Real Piece of Work. Learn the career path to secure a job in forensic science. Hart shares what a typical day on the job is like, the emotional demands of the job, and why she wished she would have taken speech and public speaking in high school. The Junior Achievement student question for this episode is provided by Drew Jarding, Rock Island High School.
Matt and Melissa’s next guest knew what he wanted to do early on in life. Meet Josh Miles in this episode of A Real Piece of Work. Miles is a marketing guru who started his own advertising agency and now serves in a leadership role at a non-profit organization supporting 7,000 members. Marketing can mean a lot of different things. Hear how Miles focuses on the strategy behind marketing, shares the job opportunities within the industry and the pay scale for entry level jobs. The Junior Achievement student question for this episode is provided by Zach Pendleton, Davenport Central High School.
If you would like to volunteer or learn more about JA, please let us know!