Clay Smith is currently a Project Engineer in the Traffic Department at Wolverton & Associates. His duties include: performing traffic studies, developing and implementing new traffic signal timings, and completing traffic signal designs. In this job, he spends about 50% of his time in the office and 50% of his time in the field. He has worked as far south as Savannah and as far north as Blairsville. This change in scenery keeps his job fun and interesting! As for his experiences in Honors Mentorship, this is what he had to say: “When I was a freshman in high school, I started to take drafting classes at West Hall High School. As I took more drafting classes, I began to narrow down what branch of engineering I would like to pursue. In my junior year of high school, I was pretty confident that I wanted to be a civil engineer. When I heard about the Honors Mentorship program, I knew that it would be a great way to see first-hand if civil engineering was really what I wanted to do as a career. I mentored with the Georgia Department of Transportation in Gainesville, GA. I worked in different offices including surveying, drafting, and traffic operations. From this mentorship, I learned that I would like to be involved with traffic engineering. When I went to college, there were not many classes that taught specifically what traffic engineers did. As I finished up my college career, I got a job as a Traffic Analyst with the City of Roswell. I believe that having Honors Mentorship on my resume helped me get that position. In the interview, I was able to talk about what I did in the mentorship and how I had some experience in traffic operations. Just before I finished college, I was presented with the opportunity to pursue what I consider to be my dream job at Wolverton & Associates. I believe that the Honors Mentorship Program gave me a superior foundation upon which I could build my professional career.” We are proud of you and your accomplishments Clay!
Oh, the places you’ll go, oh the people you’ll meet, and oh the paths you’ll take. Seven years ago if you had told me my path would lead me back to Northeast Georgia, I may have looked at you like you had two heads. At that point in my life I had a one track mind that was headed straight toward the western part of the state and wasn’t looking back. What I failed to realize that the connections I was making and had made would lead me back to where it all began. This sounds much more like a story than a synopsis, but for me this journey has been exactly that. The Honors Mentorship Program gave me the preparation for internships, involvements, and the maturity to handle criticism and success. During my collegiate time at the University of West Georgia, I became a leader in student government, Greek life, and a student ambassador. HMP teaches you to grab life by the horns and never look back and that’s exactly what I did. I landed a two year internship with a campus entity that challenged my creative mind and pushed to me to be the best I can be. I grew as a leader and was able to be a part of some great marketing campaigns while there. Before I knew it, I was accepting the Public Relations Award for the entire College of Social Sciences and was well on my way to accepting my degree! If you know me, however, you know it wouldn’t stop there. A jump, hop, and a giant leap later and I was boarding a plane to the UK to get an additional certificate in advertising at the University of London before returning to Georgia for graduation. Stepping out of the normal, comfortable bubble was the beginning of a new chapter for me. I learned so much about myself and ability to go out into this world and make a difference. I didn’t know that opportunity would come in the form of a phone call with a mentor and friend of many years. Next thing I knew, I had agreed to come back to Hall County and began assisting in expanding the local marketing and community outreach for Milton Martin Honda. Jump five months into the future and I was standing in the rotunda of the Georgia State Capitol helping constituents from all over the 49th district and representing Senator Butch Miller. August marked a year that my crazy, fun, unexpected journeys begin and I wouldn’t trade it for a second. What I didn’t expect from HMP was for the program to provide me the opportunity for its benefits to come full circle. All the challenges, the successes, and the hard work are now being placed in my hand to show to a mentee. Seeing it from a different perspective challenges and rewards you in a completely different aspect and thus far has been humbling. The fact that I am helping shape another student’s journey and path, I hope it will be to them, everything and more that it was to me. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead Ashton Blackwood Marketing and Community Outreach- Milton Martin Honda Constituent Services- Senator Butch Miller
Alex Hutcheson attended West Hall High, and then the U.S. Air Force Academy. Alex is now an Air Force C-17 pilot. The benefit of Honors Mentorship that stands out most to Alex is it taught him how to be a professional in an environment outside an office. The etiquette classes, the emphasis on helping out in the community, and community service are all tenants that Alex felt professionals and leaders need to learn. In his few years in the Air Force, he has already put to use what he learned from HMP. From leading an aircrew of 5 to a squadron of 120, to heading up the organization of group formal/social events, or being able to sit down at a military equivalent of a black tie event/dinner with Generals and other officers and to be able to hold his own, and to be given a chance to understand the importance of charitable work, Alex has drawn on the skills learned in Honors Mentorship. Looking back a few years removed, those skills things stand out the most to Alex and he appreciates the opportunity to be exposed to them in high school. The program provided an introductory look at a career he had hoped to (and did) pursue was definitely a great opportunity, but the professionalism aspects really stuck with him down the road. Thank you for your service Alex!