How it Started vs. How it’s Going: Matt Stanislav

Matt Stanislav former intern spotlightIn this employee spotlight series, we hear from former interns who have completed their 12-week summer internship program and have since accepted a full-time position at Ruppert Landscape.

Matt Stanislav started his Ruppert career with an internship in the summer of 2022 and is now an Assistant Project Manager in our Maryland landscape construction branch.

How It Started:

How did you first hear about the internship opportunity? What motivated you to apply for/accept the internship?

I first heard about the internship opportunity after a conversation with Sean Walters at the WVU career fair in the fall of 2021. I had worked in both the landscaping and construction industries in high school and very much liked them both. I thought landscape construction would be a good mix of both, which ultimately led to me accepting the internship.

Can you share your experience during the internship? What were some highlights or memorable moments?

I very much enjoyed my internship experience. My top two highlights from the internship were helping out at the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Summer Networking Event and attending Intern Day, which both took place at the corporate campus. The most memorable part at the end of Intern Day was when Craig Ruppert gave a group of interns a personal tour of Ruppert Nurseries.

How did the internship contribute to your personal and professional growth? What skills or knowledge did you gain during your internship that have been valuable in your current role?

As far as my personal growth, the internship opened my eyes to many different career paths in the industry and allowed me to start developing relationships with other Ruppert employees, subcontractors, and clients. The internship contributed to my professional growth by giving me industry experience in the field and in estimating, sales, and project management. The knowledge I gained from all these different phases of my internship has been extremely helpful in my current role. Being able to see how a job was bid, sold, managed, and built has made it easier for me to manage projects, understand how they are built in the field, and sell change orders.

When/how were you offered a full-time position at Ruppert, and at what point did you realize that Ruppert was a company where you wanted to establish a platform for your career?

After the 10-week mark of my internship, I had an evaluation to review my progress. At that time, I was told that I had made great strides and was making a positive impact on the team I was working with. I was also told that they would miss my help during the school year. I was already hoping to return the following summer and for a future career. I very much liked the environment at Ruppert and the types of projects that we completed. After I had expressed that, it led to a further conversation where we agreed that I would continue my internship part-time throughout the 2022–2023 school year as a project assistant. In December of 2022, we had a further conversation where I agreed to become a full-fledged Assistant Project Manager effective April of 2023.

How It’s Going:

Can you share some differences between your role as an intern and your role now as a full-time employee?

My role as an intern was more focused on learning the Ruppert processes and assisting others with anything that I could. A lot of my role was preparing information to help whoever I was assisting make more educated decisions. Now, as an Assistant Project Manager, I am making decisions day in and day out on my own. I think watching how others made decisions when I was an intern has helped me make better decisions on my own. When I was an intern I was a resource to the branch, helping whoever needed it most. With my current role, I am assigned to both a Project Manager and certain projects.

How has your perception of the company or industry changed since becoming a full-time employee?

I have always thought great things about Ruppert as a company as well as other team members. I think since becoming a full-time employee I have started living the values, not just believing in them. I believe I have also strengthened relationships with many of my coworkers.

What advice would you give to current or future interns who aspire to become full-time employees in the same company or industry?

The advice I would give would be to work hard and make yourself stand out compared to fellow interns. Constantly do the little things right and put in the extra time to make yourself noticed. Don’t settle when you get noticed, keep grinding and make it so you continue to be noticed.

How do you see your career trajectory evolving within the company or industry in the future?

There are already plans in place for future promotions and what I need to do to get there. If everything goes according to plan and career growth remains available, then I plan to have a long career at Ruppert. I very much enjoy working both at Ruppert and in the landscape construction industry as they are very rewarding.

Is there a Ruppert manager or coworker that you would consider as a mentor, and if so, why?

There is a long list of individuals at Ruppert who I would consider to be a mentor for many different reasons. However, I do not think I would be in the position I am today without conversations early on in my internship with John Parsley. I remember riding back from a punch list walk at Rash Field with him a couple of weeks into my internship. I was talking about my previous work experiences and how much I had been enjoying working at Ruppert. I remember him saying that if I wanted to be in his position one day that I needed to continue to take the internship seriously and stand out compared to the other interns and the rest would take care of itself. This conversation motivated me to stand out compared to the other interns and the rest certainly has and continues to take care of itself. I still often find myself thinking back to this conversation.