by Rebecca Hightower

Southwire Company, LLC, North America’s leading manufacturer of wire and cable used in the distribution and transmission of electricity, knows that offering a solid sustainability internship not only attracts bright talent but can keep them on as sustainability experts. That idea was brought to life through collaboration with the University of West Georgia’s Richards College of Business.

Southwire, UWG’s First Cohort Begins InternshipWith a growing demand from businesses to hire sustainability savvy individuals and a growing interest in sustainability from job-seeking college graduates the Southwire Sustainable Business Honors Program (SSBHP) was developed. The only one of its kind in the nation, the SSBHP allows students to work closely with the division presidents of Southwire while simultaneously earning their undergraduate and masters degrees. The program is built upon Southwire’s sustainability tenets: building worth, growing green, living well, doing right, and giving back.

“This program is unique in providing an opportunity to earn an undergraduate and graduate degree in four years while engaging in so many opportunities,” said Dean of Richards College of Business and Sewell Chair of Private Enterprise Dr. Faye McIntyre. “We are in the business of transforming lives through education, engagement, and experiences and are very proud of our students' success.”

This fall, the first cohort of the SSBHP comprised of six UWG students—Garrett Bishop, Ethan Brown, Jared Ervin, Blair Fox, Jovan Johnson, and Taylor McDermott—will be paired with a member of the Southwire leadership team for an academic yearlong internship. The internships were developed with the aim of helping students gain practical business knowledge while developing an understanding of how the various facets of a business work together to ensure sustainable profitability.

“Southwire is a company that has the intention of giving back and building the workforce of the future. This is a major milestone. Dr. McIntyre has made this a great partnership, and we are excited to work with this first cohort,” said Southwire’s Executive Vice President of Human Resources Kathleen Edge. “This is a very safe environment to learn and grow, and I think the leadership will be blown away at the talent of these students.”

Southwire’s Mandy Baeumel, director of human resources - energy division, Gary Leftwich, Southwire’s director of media and communications, and UWG’s Melanie Hildebrandt, director of the SSBHP and economics instructor, collaborated to lead an informal gathering at Plates on the Square in Carrollton to provide an opportunity for the UWG students and the divisional presidents of Southwire to meet and discuss the upcoming internships.

Addressing the group, Dr. McIntyre praised Southwire President and CEO Stu Thorn for his vision and passion in the development of the program and his commitment to the future workforce.

“A lot of people put a lot of time and effort into making this experience possible. Most students don’t have the opportunity to engage with leaders across divisions during an internship,” said Dr. McIntyre. “Our students have access to a truly world-class experience. Thank you to Southwire for making this happen.”

For more information on the University of West Georgia’s Richards College of Business Southwire Sustainable Business Honors Program please visit:

Posted on August 3, 2015