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Intern Spotlight: Todd Petrella

UP Cycle Design is a new company, and our team is small and doing a lot of hard work to get things up and running. With the help of our interns, UP Cycle Design has been able to grow and branch out into new areas. We want to show them some love, and spotlight each of our interns on the blog.

First up, we have Todd Petrella, our blog writer, which is actually me writing this, right now! Meta, I know. We do that around here. Read on to find out a little bit more about me, and what I've gained and learned from having this internship and writing this blog.

Todd Petrella (left), and his dog, Ciara

Tell me about yourself (interests, hobbies, lifestyle, major, etc.).

Hello! I’m a senior at UD, majoring in Entrepreneurship, with minors in Writing and Wildlife Conservation. I can’t wait to be done with school. I have many interests and hobbies, but I’d say the most prominent ones are gaming, teaching myself Japanese, spray painting, writing, and watching animals do animal things. I try to live a healthy and sustainable life, but it is difficult at times.

Why did you want to intern here?

Environment-based company? Check.

An opportunity to do work that actually matters? Check.

Wait, you mean I can actually use my skills and hobbies for work purposes? Check, check, check.

What’s been your favorite part of working with UP Cycle Design so far?

See my answer in Question 2. Also, I really enjoy the laid-back nature of the company. Working with UP Cycle, I am doing what I have to do mostly because I want to rather than feeling like I have to. It’s really cool, and it’s also an opportunity for me to let my side hustle and skills (like my artistic ability) to flourish, be appreciated, and be meaningful. Also, everyone is really cool!

In what ways do you most hope to create value as an UP Cycle Design intern?

I am hoping that I can be called upon when a task needs to be completed and be completed well. I am also hoping that the effort I put in is a legitimate contribution to the company being able to attain its goals, and expand as a result. It would be great to look at the company in the future, and then look back at what it used to be and be able to say “I helped the company get here.”

Todd in Japan, peep Mt. Fuji in the back!

What are your personal goals for the company?

More products in our store, more product lines as well. I’d like to see general expansion, and also a physical location, such as a warehouse or an office or something in between, would be awesome. More staff would also be beneficial in order to achieve our goals.

What advice would you give to someone looking to intern at a startup?

If you really want to work for a particular start up, I would set up a chat with the owner, and then I would offer to help in whatever area they needed help in. That being said, make sure the help you offer is within your wheelhouse. Nobody wants to hire somebody who says they can, and then it turns out they can’t. Also, running a business is expensive. Don’t expect to get paid right away. If the start up you work for is able to pay you as an intern, great! But don’t expect that to be the case. It’s more likely that they won’t be able to pay you, not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t afford to. But if you help them out and contribute and stick with them to the point they can pay you, I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to. Finally, don’t expect a rigid structure or anything to be set up like in an established business. Start ups thrive in the areas of ambiguity and uncertainty, and it takes time to figure things out, and get a structure in place.

How would you describe our company culture?

Very friendly, very laid-back. We all contribute to the benefit of UP Cycle Design but we all have fun while doing it.

If you could make a change to your internship, what would it be?

That we had a physical location to work in. One of the hardest parts of the internship for me personally is that it’s remote and that I do all the work at home. Being at home is not the problem. The problem is that I am surrounded by distractions at home, like my PS4, sitting right next to me as I type this. This could be solved if I had an extra room in my house to set up shop in, but also one of my personal goals for UP Cycle is a physical location. It would be awesome if we could achieve this in my time here.

I do serious work around here

What do you think has been the most impactful part of your experience so far?

Being given responsibilities revolving around my skills, hobbies, and talents. This created an opportunity for those things to prosper, and in turn, I am able to create quality output and results for the company.

What's been the most valuable thing you’ve learned from your internship up until this point?

I am learning skills and gaining experience that I can carry forward with me into my career and future aspirations. I am a better writer than I was a few months ago, I am able to once again pick up old hobbies, like drawing and using Adobe Illustrator, because now I have something to use them for. I also know a lot more about sustainability and entrepreneurship that I can take with me when I attempt to start my own business in the future.

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