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Alum Reflects on Warehouse Production Amidst Pandemic

Gabrielle Cressman and Bethany Kristich on the Lebanon Valley College quad

Things happen for a reason, and for Gabrielle Cressman ’19, this could not be any truer.

At the start of her internship search, Cressman applied for a position with WebstaurantStore’s supply chain team. She interviewed but did not make the cut. However, WebstaurantStore interviewed her for an operations support services internship. 

At the same time, Cressman became aware of—and applied for—a scholarship opportunity offered by Clark Associates, WebstaurantStore’s parent company, to college students. The award included a $5,000 scholarship, along with a paid internship position.

“Somewhere between being rejected for an internship and getting a different internship with WebstaurantStore, I won the scholarship,” said Cressman, who earned her degree in economics. “It was a very Clark February for me, to say the least.”

As an operations support services intern, Cressman searched for problems and then suggested solutions. 

“My team was supportive and passionate, which offered me space and guidance to grow,” he said. “I had a great manager. He pushed me to learn, but he always made work fun.

“The biggest takeaway from my internship was to ask the ‘why’ behind everything and then ask ‘why’ again. That’s how you start the conversation to making impactful change.”

Cressman remained with WebstaurantStore after her internship and started full-time in early 2020 as an outbound operations systems expert. She is the product owner of the software used to ship orders from the warehouse to customers. She often acts as the liaison between warehouse employees who use the software and the software developers who create it to solve any bugs in the systems quickly. 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Cressman’s job duties have shifted to focus more on software development as the warehouse brings more automation into the work process. 

“Labor shortages worsened in the aftermath of the pandemic,” said Cressman. “Since last year, we added two new pieces of machinery to help automate our processes. I’ve been lucky enough to help on the software side to make sure that the hardware can talk back and forth to Clark’s internal systems.”

As Cressman continues to assist her team through labor shortages and the introduction of new automation in the warehouse, she continues to hold to her childhood dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. 

“I aspire to start my own business one day that gives back to my community in a meaningful way,” said Cressman. 

 

-- Parker Gallagher, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant