TEKTON employees meet-n-greet Calvin students in Johnny's Cafe.

This past year the Calvin Career Center launched the Calvin Employer Partnership Program to offer local companies formal opportunities to support the university’s mission and to help Calvin to develop our talented students. The program creates channels for students looking for internships and career opportunities while opening doors for sponsoring companies to be directly involved in students' education. Employer sponsors get access to Calvin employer conferences, recruiting fairs, and on-campus interviews, among other benefits. We believe students receive a well-rounded education when formal academic study is connected to tangible experiences in the workplace. One of our new partners, but a long-time employer of Calvin graduates, is Tekton, a company that strives to make the best hand tools accessible to everyone. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Tekton was started 60 years ago by the Amash family, immigrants from the Middle East. The current CEOs, brothers John and Jeff Amash, have cultivated a company culture of integrity, purpose, and drive for results.

One of Tekton’s fundamental principles is to question convention. In developing their culture, they hire employees who are creative, high-performing, resilient, and have integrity. Tekton's Human Resources manager, Rachel Bromhead, says, "We like Calvin students because they fit our culture – they are kind, smart, and have strong morals. They can figure things out, take responsibility, and find answers.” You cannot go far in the warehouse, engineering hub, or administrative offices without running into a Calvin alum. Tekton is always looking to connect with Calvin students and graduates who are seeking full and part-time positions. In addition to competitive pay, Tekton offers great scholarships to Calvin student interns. We connected with two Calvin alumni who both expressed that Tekton offers them excellent compensation, opportunities for career progression, and a commitment to employees' personal growth.

Codie Bhuyan ‘15 is the Chief Supply Chain Officer - a newly developed position to respond to the company’s rapid growth. When reflecting on his leadership development relevant to his current role, he cited “on-campus living at Calvin that taught me how to interact with and care for people.” Codie's Resident Director, Laura Roedeheaver, taught him about the importance of character and authenticity in leadership. Codie’s accounting Professor Marilyn Stansbury challenged him to weave together lessons on faith and business. She helped him understand his purpose and that he could be an agent of renewal and transformation in the marketplace. Codie expressed how he wished to increase Tekton's engagement with Calvin students, not just for recruiting, but also for group projects, presentations on business aspects, and other ways that Tekton could be an asset to a Calvin education.

Lindsey VanderHooft ‘15 is the Chief User Engagement Officer at Tekton. Soon after starting at Tekton, Lindsey was tasked with developing a new department to focus on customer service and on-line markets. New ventures like this in the workplace rarely provide a straightforward answer or clear roadmap. She credits her Calvin education for preparing her for difficult tasks; “Calvin gives students a framework to tackle the unique challenges of each job. [My education] taught me how to think for myself. Lindsey points to Calvin's rigorous academic programs, study abroad experience, and varsity lacrosse coaches for developing her character and work ethic.

I am so grateful for employer partners, like Tekton, who have invested in Calvin and believe in what our students can contribute to the world.

For more information about how you can be a Calvin Employer Partner contact Calvin’s Senior Employer Relations Officer, Travis Gibbons. Thanks to Calvin Presidential Fellow, Ben VanderWindt who did the research for this story and helped to get this article series off the ground.